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President:    THE  BISHOP  OF  DURHAM. 
Chairman:  CANON  H.  S.  HOLLAND. 


THIS    Union   consists   of  Members   of  the   Church 
England  who  have  the  following  objects  at  heart : — 

1.  To  claim  for  the  Christian  Law  the  ultimate  authority 

to  rule  social  practice. 

2.  To  study  in  common  how  to  apply  the  moral  truths 

and  principles   of   Christianity   to   the   social   and 
economic  difficulties  of  the  present  time. 

3.  To   present    Christ    in    practical    life   as   the   living 

Master  and  King,  the  Enemy  of  wrong  and  selfish- 
ness, the  Power  of  righteousness  and  love. 

Members  are  expected  to  pray  for  the  well-being  of 
the  Union  at  Holy  Communion,  more  particularly  on  or 
about  the  following  days  : — 

The  Feast  of  the  Epiphany. 
The  Feast  of  the  Ascension. 
The  Feast  of  St.  Michael  and  All  Angels. 

Further  information  can  be  obtained  from  the  Secretary ', 

Rev.    PERCY  DEARMER,  28,  Duke  Street,  Manchester 

Square,  W. 








DURING  LENT,    1895 





"  Is  not  this  the  Fast  that  I  have  chosen?  to  loose  the  bands  of  wicked- 
ness, to  undo  the  heavy  burdens,  and  to  let  the  oppressed  go  free,  and  that 
ye  break  every  yoke  ?  " — Lesson  for  Ash  Wednesday 




LONGMANS,    GREEN,    &    CO. 


All  eights  reserved 


THE  following  Sermons  have  been  selected  from 
two  courses  preached  during  Lent,  1895,  on  week- 
days, mainly  to  business  men,  at  the  churches  of 
St.  Edmund,  Lombard  Street,  and  St.  Mary-le- 

The  London  Branch  of  the  Christian  Social  Union 
is  responsible  for  inviting  the  several  preachers.  But 
each  preacher  is  entirely  responsible  for  his  own 
utterance ;  and  for  nothing  more.  It  will  be  obvious 
that  they  differ  widely  in  aim  and  judgment.  It 
would  be  meaningless  if  they  did  not,  in  face  of  the 
intricacy  and  the  complication  of  the  vast  social 
problem  which  Christianity  is  called  upon  to  handle. 
Many  types,  many  minds,  many  experiences,  must 
draw  together,  through  much  correction  and  discipline, 
before  the  Church  can  adequately  grapple  with  her 
task.  The  Christian  Social  Union  has  thought  it 
well,  therefore,  simply  to  invite  such  speakers  as 
were  qualified  to  win  a  hearing,  and  then  to  leave 
them  perfectly  free  to  express  themselves.  Our  one 
aim  is  that  such  matters  as  these  should  be  pressed 
upon  the  anxious  attention  of  the  laity  in  Lent. 


Only  by  so  doing  can  we  hope  to  arrive,  after 
many  a  long  day  of  dispute  and  of  sifting,  at  that 
agreement,  which  as  yet  could  only  be  forced  or 
mechanical.  We  cordially  thank  the  Archbishop 
of  Canterbury  for  consenting  to  assist  in  this  our 

Yet  there  is  one  basal  agreement  which  we  did 
set  ourselves  to  secure.  We  have  asked  only  those 
to  preach  who  believe,  in  heart  and  soul,  that,  below 
all  the  varieties  of  social  work  and  social  thought, 
there  is  but  one  living  Lord  and  Master  Who  can 
solve  our  riddles,  and  disentangle  our  confusions,  and 
give  union  to  our  broken  brotherhood.  Here  is  our 
rock.  Other  foundation  can  no  man  lay  than  is  laid 
in  Jesus  Christ. 

H.   S.    HOLLAND. 

May,  1895. 






4 'We  are  members  one  of  another." — EPH.  iv.  25 10 

THE    POLITICAL    OFFICE    OF    THE    CHURCH.        REV.     T. 

Acts  ii.  8-1 1,  40-47;  Hi.  1-6  ;  iv.  1-3,  7-12 20 

THE  CHURCH  AND  THE  PEOPLE.     REV.  R.  R.  DOLLING       .       31 


''Knowledge  puffeth  up,  but  charity  edifieth." — i  COR.  viii.  i    .       41 



"If  it  be  possible,  as  much  as  in  you  lieth,  be  at  peace  with  all 

men." — ROM.  xii.  18 63 


"His  seed  shall  become  a  multitude  of  nations." — GEN.  xlviii.  19       81 



COUNTRY  LIFE.    REV.  J.  CHARLES  Cox,  LL.D.,  F.vS.A. 

"  Desire  a  better  country." — HEB.  xi.  16 93 

CLERK-LIFE.     REV.  H.  C.  SHUTTLEWORTH,  M.A.       ...     105 


"Jerusalem  is  built  as  a  city  which  is  at  unity  with  itself." — 

Ps.  cxxii.  3 114 

WHAT    THE    CHURCH    MIGHT    DO    FOR    LONDON.       REV. 



* l  Though  I  bestow  all  my  goods  to  feed  the  poor  .    .    .  and  have 

not  charity,  it  profiteth  me  nothing." — I  COR.  xiii.  3.      .      .      134 


"  So  God  created  man  in  His  own  image,  in  the  image  of  God 
created  He  him  ;  male  and  female  created  He  them.  And 
God  blessed  them,  and  God  said  unto  them,  Be  fruitful,  and 
multiply,  and  replenish  the  earth,  and  subdue  it." — GEN.  i. 
27,  28. 

"  Nay,  much  more  those  members  of  the  body,  which  seem  to  be 

more  feeble,  are  necessary." — I  COR.  xii.  22 142 


"  For  with  Thee  is  the  Well  of  Life,  and  in  Thy  Light  shall  we 

see  Light."— Ps.  xxxvi.  9 155 



"Blow  the  trumpet  in  Zion,  sanctify  a  fast,  call  a  solemn  assembly : 
gather  the  people,  sanctify  the  congregation,  assemble  the 
elders,  gather  the  children,  and  those  that  suck  the  breasts  : 
let  the  bridegroom  go  forth  of  his  chamber,  and  the  bride 
out  of  her  closet.  Let  the  priests,  the  ministers  of  the  Lord, 
weep  between  the  porch  and  the  altar,  and  let  them  say, 
Spare  Thy  people,  O  Lord,  and  give  not  Thine  heritage  to 
reproach,  that  the  heathen  should  rule  over  them  :  wherefore 
should  they  say  among  the  people,  Where  is  their  God  ?  " — 
JOEL  ii.  15-17 169 


CHARACTER.    REV.  E.  F.  RUSSELL,  M.A 180 

THE  SOCIAL  ASPECT  OF  SIN.     REV.  W.  C,  G.  LANG,  M.A. 
"For  their  sakes  I  consecrate  Myself." — JOHN  xvii.  19     ...     186 


"  What  is  man  ?  " — Ps.  viii.  4 193 


"  Whosoever  will  save  his  life  shall  lose  it :  and  whosoever  will 

lose  his  life  for  My  sake  shall  find  it." — MATT.  xvi.  25    .      .     200 


"  There  can  be  neither  Jew  nor  Greek,  there  can  be  neither  bond 
nor  free,  there  can  be  no  male  and  female  :  for  ye  are  all  one 
man  in  Christ  Jesus." — GAL.  iii.  28 207 


"  He  that  hath  no  rule  over  his  own  spirit  is  like  a  city  that  is 

broken  down,  and  without  walls." — PROV.  xxv.  28    .      .      .     214 

LANG,  M.A. 

"  Give  unto  the  Lord  the  glory  due  unto  His  name  :  bring  an 
offering,  and  come  before  Him :  worship  the  Lord  in  the 
beauty  of  holiness." — I  CHRON.  xvi.  29 222 


"And  even  things  without  life  giving  sound,  whether  pipe  or 
harp,  except  they  give  a  distinction  in  the  sounds,  how  shall 
it  be  known  what  is  piped  or  harped  ?  ...  So  likewise  ye, 
except  ye  utter  by  the  tongue  words  easy  to  be  understood, 
how  shall  it  be  known  what  is  spoken  ?  for  ye  shall  speak 
into  the  air.  .  .  .  Therefore  if  I  know  not  the  meaning  of 
the  voice,  I  shall  be  unto  him  that  speaketh  a  barbarian,  and 
he  that  speaketh  shall  be  a  barbarian  unto  me."— I  COR. 
xiv.  7,  9,  ii 230 

PART    I. 


Of  THI 






HE  who  can  teach  and  loves  to  teach,  teaches. 
They  who  can  trade  and  seek  to  trade,  trade.  They 
who  are  strong  and  love  justice,  judge,  either  by  num- 
bers or  by  chosen  men.  The  community  soon  finds 
its  interest  in  encouraging  education,  commerce,  law. 
Lynch-law  ceases,  commerce  is  defended,  schools  are 

Villages,  castles,  kingdoms,  welcome  the  religious 
teacher.  The  nation,  while  it  takes  force  and  soldier- 
ing, and  law  and  penalty,  wholly  to  itself,  leaves  not 
only  trade  but  scholarship  and  science  to  the  utmost 
in  the  hand  of  individuals,  but  encourages  and  pro- 
tects them,  assigns  them  privilege  and  the  means 
which  their  precious  work  cannot  earn. 

The  universal  gifts  of  individuals  to  religion,  the 
lands,  the  charges,  the  buildings  which  are  bestowed 
by  their  self-sacrifice,  are  recognized  ;  their  dedication 
approved,  their  perpetuity  assured.  Teachers  and 
disciples  alike  are  so  devoted,  so  strong,  and  so 
leading,  that  it  is  wise  to  take  their  leaders  into 
counsel,  to  confer  privileges  which  coincide  with 
limitations,  to  provide  that  what  they  do  shall  be 
done  for  all.  This,  however,  is  their  Divine  mis- 
sion, and  its  acceptance  by  the  community  becomes 
an  actual  fresh  strength  to  them  as  against  the 

4  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

narrowness  and  exclusiveness  which  in  human  nature 
too  readily  follow  the  profession  of  even  the  truest 

The  patron  who  charges  himself  and  his  posterity 
commonly  retains  the  right  of  recommending  the 
individual  teacher  from  among  those  whom  the 
Church  has  commissioned  to  spread  the  Divine 
knowledge  and  grace.  The  people  name  the  lay- 
men who  are  to  attend  to  the  less  spiritual  affairs. 
The  discipline  of  the  clergy  is  exercised  by  courts 
of  specialists  adopted  by  the  community.  The 
public  worship  is  that  of  the  Catholic  Church,  edited 
(so  to  speak)  from  age  to  age  by  those  that  have 
authority,  and  received  by  Church  and  realm. 

Then,  when  he  is  ordained  priest,  a  man   has  set 
before  him  the  awful,  yet  stimulating  picture  of  "  the 
people  committed  to  your  care  ; "  of  the  service  hence- 
forth  due   from   him  "  to   all  Christian  people,  and 
specially  such  as  are  committed  to  your  care  ; "  of  his 
personal  obligations  "as  well  to  the  sick  as  to  the 
whole  ; "  of  exertions  among  individuals  so  extensive 
as  that  "  there  be  no  place  left  among  you  for  error 
in    doctrine    or    for    viciousness   in  life."     Nothing 
smaller,  lower,  poorer  than  that  ideal  can  the  Church 
of  God  delineate.     To  nothing  more   contracted  is 
her  minister  commissioned  and  sent.     Whatever  may 
be  the  ideal  of  that  Church,  within  sects  or  exclusive 
confessions,  that  care  of  all,  that  responsibility,  that 
"being  sent  to   all"   is   the   ideal  we  cherish.     No 
clergyman   of  a  National  Church  can  do  more   in 
his   own   person   to   denationalize   it   than  one  who 
would  either  invent  and  expatiate  in  liturgies  at  his 
pleasure,   or   disdain    the   "  admonition "   which   he 
promised  reverently  to  obey,  or   divert   to  his  own 
benefit  by  payment  of  money  one  of  those  cures  of 
souls  which  others  hold  in  trust. 

But  the  spirit  of  the  clergy  is  against  these  things 


—these  denationalizing,  self-aggrandizing   practices. 

What  class  of  citizens   has  better  recognized  their 

national   as   well   as  their  catholic  position?     They 

are   themselves   men   of  the  people ;   none  more  so 

than    their    bishops.     There    would    have   been   no 

popular  education  for  ages  in  England  but  for  the 

work  of  the  clergy,  who  in  days  of  apathy  founded 

schools  everywhere,  and  with  a  true  recognition  of 

the  nature  of  that  work  called  them  at  once  "  national 

schools."      The   very   roads   and   bridges  to  a  vast 

extent   owe   their    construction    to    clerical    bodies. 

What  art  in  England   compares  to  the  art  of   the 

churches  ?     And   is   it   not  far  more  than  doubtful 

whether  there  would  have  been  anything  worthy  of 

the  name  of  liberty  if  it  had  not  been  for  the  un- 

dauntedness  and  the  political  science  of  the  bishops 

guiding  the  instincts  of  the  military  leaders  against 

oppression   at    home  and  from  abroad?      Certainly 

whatever  benefits  sprang,  or  are  yet  to  spring,  from 

our   Reformation   could   never   have   been   attained 

but   by   the   study,   science,   and   martyrdoms   of  a 

national  clergy.     What  could  a  sect  have  effected  in 

that  hour  ? 

Granted  that,  in  a  well-known  period,  apathy  and 
corruption  pervaded  many,  what  institution  is  incor- 
ruptible which  has  men  for  administrators?  What 
institution,  what  organization,  was  more  overpowered 
by  that  benumbing  drench  of  apathy  and  corruption 
than  the  House  of  Commons  and  its  constituencies  ? 
The  typical  stronghold  of  independence  was  sur- 

Is  there  any  more  singularly  national  fact  than 
the  recovery,  the  simultaneous,  contemporaneous 
recovery,  of  both  ? 

Of  our  own  passing  day  I  will  say  but  this.  Do 
we  not  recognize  that  in  the  last  half-century  there 


has  been  a  national  revival  in  religion — one  that  has 
thrown  all  opposing  forces  with  all  their  power  into 
strong  relief?  Compare  our  schools,  our  churches, 
our  services,  our  dioceses,  our  benevolent  or  mis- 
sionary efforts,  with  the  best  that  could  be  produced 
by  the  best  men  half  a  century  ago.  It  would  be 
ridiculous  to  deny  that  the  enormous  change  is  a 
national  movement,  though  it  has  risen  as  peacefully 
as  a  smooth  tide.  And  I  would  ask  you  to  look 
back  to  lives  and  letters  and  memoirs  that  are  within 
every  man's  reach,  and  say  (if  you  please)  what  men, 
what  individuals,  of  what  class,  of  what  profession, 
were  the  very  fountains  of  all  this.  Let  any  man 
say,  who  professes  to  know  the  history  of  his  own 
times.  And  if  you  feel  it  is  impossible  to  despair  of 
the  nation  with  that  strong  and  holy  record  of  its 
latest  years — will  you,  with  the  facts  before  you, 
despair  of  or  despise  the  Church  ? 

If  so,  it  is  at  the  dictation  not  of  truth  but  of 
wilfulness.  I  see  it  said,  "  This  is  a  phase  caused  by 
modern  pressure.  The  spirit  of  the  Church  is  sacer- 
dotal, self-aggrandizing."  It  is  not  for  me  to  explain 
revenues  which  exist  on  paper.  But  if  you  will  look 
below  the  surface,  if  you  will  read  memoirs  which 
exhibit  the  initiation  of  the  modern  pressure  itself, 
the  underground  work  which  preceded  measures, 
societies,  funds,  you  will  realize  that  Church  work 
out  of  sight  was  the  strength  of  the  situation ;  and 
as  you  look  back  and  back  you  will  find  little  break. 
The  modern  spirit  is  the  ancient  spirit — the  spirit 
which  has  moved  the  National  Church  from  the 
beginning.  Nor  was  that  Church  anything  but 
national,  anything  but  established  ever.  No  act  or 
deed,  no  word  or  resolution  or  sign-manual  ever 
established  it,  ever  altered  its  first  relation  to  the 
people,  or  its  view  of  its  obligations. 

What   was  it  when   this  was  going  on  ?     "  They 


preached  the  Word  of  life  to  whom  they  could. 
.  .  .  When  the  king  was  converted  they  received 
larger  licence  to  preach  throughout  all  parts,  and  to 
build  and  restore  churches."  "  He  forced  no  one 
into  Christianity,  only  he  embraced  believers  with 
closer  affection  as  his  fellow-citizens  in  a  heavenly 
kingdom.  He  had  learned  from  the  teachers  and 
authors  of  his  salvation  that  Christ's  service  must  be 
voluntary,  not  of  constraint.  Nor  did  he  delay  to 
give  those  his  teachers  a  settled  residence  suitable  to 
their  degree  in  his  metropolis,  with  such  possessions 
in  divers  kinds  as  were  necessary  for  them." l 

Is  that  establishment  or  is  it  not  ? 

It  is  the  primitive  record  of  Augustine's  position 
under  Ethelbert. 

Or  this  in  Wessex :  "  The  king,  observing  Agil- 
bert's  erudition  and  industry,  desired  him  to  accept 
an  Episcopal  see  there,  and  stay  there  as  bishop  of 
his  nation." 

Or  this  about  St.  Aidan,  the  Apostle  of  the  North  : 
"  He  was  in  the  king's  residence.  .  .  .  He  had  in  it 
a  church  and  a  chamber,  and  was  wont  often  to  go 
and  stay  [at  Bamborough],  to  make  excursions,  to 
preach  in  the  country  round,  which  he  did  also  in 
other  of  the  king's  residences,  having  nothing  of  his 
own  except  his  church  and  some  adjacent  fields." 

Or  this  in  East  Anglia :  Fuesey  "  built  a  monas- 
tery on  the  place  which  he  had  received  from  the 
king  .  .  .  afterwards  [the  next]  king  of  that  province, 
and  all  the  nobles  adorned  it  with  more  stately 
buildings  and  donations." 

Such  is  the  England  of  the  early  seventh  century. 

These  are  the  first  beginnings,  and  the  very 
earliest  records  of  that  same  National  Church  estab- 
lished, of  which  six  working  men,  coming  as  a 
1  Bede,  i.  25,  26,  597. 

8  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

deputation  with  a  complaint,  said  to  me  the  other 
day,  as  they  left  my  room,  "  Well,  sir,  we  hope  you 
will  do  what  you  can  for  us  about  our  parish  church, 
for  it's  the  last  bit  of  freehold  we  have  left."  Or 
as  a  very  poor,  ignorant  man,  leaning  against  the 
churchyard  wall,  said  to  my  friend,  "  Yes,  sir,  it's 
the  parish  church — my  parish  church.  There's  no- 
body can  hinder  me  from  going  in  there.  Whether 
I  go  or  whether  I  don't  go,  I  have  got  the  right  to 
go  to  service  when  I  please."  Poor  fellow !  he  was 
no  controversialist ;  he  knew  nothing  of  the  politics 
which  were  manoeuvring  over  him  and  his  rights. 

But  these  men  held  a  doctrine  about  their  rights 
which  had  been  well  understood  and  acted  on  for 
thirteen  hundred  years  in  England,  and  for  a  good 
fifteen  hundred  years  in  Wales. 

And  surely  politics,  party  politics,  have  no  con- 
cern with  that  doctrine.  They  have  not  formed  or 
built  up  either  the  rights  or  the  duties.  They  are 
ephemeral.  They  are  "  a  phase  of  modern  pressure," 
if  you  please. 

They  have  the  same  power  and  the  same  right  to 
deprive  and  reconstitute  the  Church  as  they  would 
have  to  claim  the  accumulated  capital  of  chartered 
companies  as  national  property ;  the  same  right  and 
power  as  they  would  have  to  suspend  the  protectorate 
of  the  high  seas,  and  to  call  on  the  British  merchant 
navies  to  provide  for  their  own  security — the  same 
right  and  power,  and  not  a  grain  more.  The  very 
existence  of  the  fleets  of  commerce  repays  the 
national  protection  of  them  a  thousand  times  over. 

You  will  not  suppose,  will  you,  that  I,  thus  speak- 
ing against  time,  have  confounded  the  clergy  with 
the  Church  ?  I  have  taken  for  granted  that  all  here 
have  before  them  the  fact  that  the  grandest  political 
action  of  the  Reformation  was  that  it  replaced  the 


clergy  in  the  position  of  citizens ;  that  it  made  the 
highest  moral  interests  of  clergy  and  laity  identical. 
If  the  Church  were  the  clergy  there  would  be  no 
National  Church.  The  most  Judicious  of  theologians 
could  never  have  maintained  that  the  Church  was 
the  nation  and  the  nation  the  Church.  But  if  they 
are  a  Christ-commissioned  class  of  citizens,  mes- 
sengers, watchmen,  stewards  of  the  Master,  like 
Himself  not  ministered  to  but  ministering,  then  the 
history  of  the  nation  down  to  this  hour,  the  history 
of  England,  with  the  history  of  the  Church  erased 
from  its  pages,  would  be  an  unintelligible  chronicle. 
As  it  stands,  no  man  can  deny  that  through  evil  and 
good,  through  darkness  and  light,  through  storm  and 
sun,  through  blunder  and  through  right,  it  is  a  pro- 
gressive tale  of  the  kingdom  of  God  and  of  the 
upward  march  of  men. 



[Secretary  of  the  S.P.C.K.] 

u  We  are  members  one  of  another." — EPH.  iv.  25. 

"  ALL  the  labour  of  man,"  says  the  Preacher  (Eccles. 
vi.  7),  "  is  for  his  mouth,  and  yet  the  appetite  is  not 

Hunger  and  thirst,  cold  and  heat,  these  are  the 
goads  to  labour,  and  in  the  continual  recurrence  of 
their  demands  lie  the  main  stimulants  to  human 
activity.  The  constant  efforts  required  to  meet  these 
exigencies  furnish  the  warp  and  woof  of  history. 

The  migration  of  peoples,  the  antagonisms  between 
man  and  man,  the  wars  of  tribe  with  tribe,  and  nation 
with  nation,  have  had  here  their  chief  sources.  The 
hunting-grounds  or  fertile  lands  of  the  world  are 
neither  equally  distributed  nor  unlimited  in  extent, 
and  hence  the  perpetual  struggle  among  men  for  the 
possession  of  the  best. 

If  food  dropped  into  our  mouths  without  effort,  if 
the  needs  of  the  appetites  could  be  met  as  easily  as 
the  demand  of  the  lungs  for  air,  there  would  be  no 
incentive  to  labour,  no  cause  for  competition  and 
conflict.  In  such  circumstances  we  should,  indeed, 
escape  the  burden  of  toil,  and  be  freed  from  the 
difficulties  of  the  labour  question ;  but  our  security  as 


to  daily  bread  might  be  purchased  at  the  expense  of 
being  reduced  to  a  condition  resembling  that  of  the 
lower  parasites,  or  of  being  wiped  out  of  existence 
altogether.  The  recurrent  demands  of  the  body  put 
physical  muscles  and  mental  fibre  to  usury,  with  the 
result  of  a  gain  in  bodily  strength,  and  a  clearer 
mental  prevision.  In  the  absence,  on  the  other  hand, 
of  the  labour  struggle,  our  bodies  and  minds  would 
become  fibreless,  and  we  should  be  unable  to  endure 
the  strain  put  upon  us  by  our  environment. 

While  recognizing,  however,  in  the  ceaseless  effort 
for  daily  bread,  the  development  of  muscular  and 
mental  faculties  through  the  forced  activity  of 
brain  and  limb,  we  are  at  the  same  time  made 
painfully  aware,  by  universal  experience,  that  the 
struggle  for  existence  brings  many  and  terrible 
evils  in  its  train.  Competition  has  its  favourable 
aspects,  it  is  true,  but  these  are  not  so  great  that  we 
can  afford  to  neglect  altogether  the  serious  ills  which 
follow  from  it.  Moral  considerations  come  in  here 
which  lower  our  estimation  of  that  treadmill  life  to 
which  the  struggle  for  existence  would  consign  the 
greater  part  of  the  human  family.  "  Every  man  for 
himself,  and  the  devil  take  the  hindmost,"  is  an 
aphorism  which  may  satisfy  the  philosopher  who 
excludes  ethics  from  his  scheme  of  economic  laws. 
The  average  man,  as  well  as  the  moralist,  finds  it  jar 
upon  his  idea  of  the  fitness  of  things.  "  Every  man 
for  himself,"  is  a  principle  which,  if  fully  carried  out, 
would  not  only  render  corporate  life  impossible,  but 
would  in  the  long  run  frustrate  even  the  selfish  aim  it 
was  meant  to  serve.  It  is  in  such  an  atmosphere  of 
personal  competition  that  the  anti-social  vices  grow 
luxuriously.  Here  is  the  source  of  that  covetousness 
which  the  inspired  Apostle  recognizes  as  idolatry — an 
idolatry  more  debasing,  perhaps,  than  that  of  the  old 
world.  Hence  come  "  hatred,  variance,  emulations, 

12  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

wrath,  strife,  seditions,  heresies,  envyings."  Hence, 
too,  that  restless  struggle  after  so-called  independence, 
that  paradise  of  some  men  in  which  they  may  "  live 
their  own  lives  "  without  any  regard  to  the  opinions 
or  well-being  of  the  community  as  a  whole.  We 
cannot,  however,  even  if  we  would,  "  live  to  ourselves." 
We  cannot  attain  that  ideal  of  independence  which 
some  men  put  before  them  as  the  expected  reward 
of  years  of  privation  and  labour.  Independence  is 
impossible  in  the  human  family  as  it  is  constituted. 
If  we  want  an  illustration  of  independent  lives,  we 
must  go  far  below  the  human  species. 

Of  all  God's  creatures,  it  is  strange  that  the  lowest 
in  organization  should  be  the  most  independent.  The 
minute  Amoeba,  found  in  the  mud  of  our  ditches, 
enjoys  an  almost  perfect  independence.  It  has  no 
opposite  sex,  no  family  in  the  strict  sense,  no  tribe 
to  which  it  owes  duties  of  any  sort.  Each  individual  is 
self-contained,  supports  and  perpetuates  itself  without 
any  co-operation  from  beings  of  its  kind. 

Its  life  does  not  even  depend  upon  the  differentia- 
tion of  function,  for  each  part  acts  like  every  other 
part.  The  lack  of  a  circulating,  digestive,  or  nervous 
system,  the  absence  of  senses  or  limbs,  is  but  an  ex- 
tension of  its  independence. 

We  might  imagine  man  to  have  been  created  on 
such  a  model,  and  we  might  well  ask,  What  would 
be  his  condition  in  such  circumstances  ?  In  the  first 
place,  he  would  be  non-social.  He  would  have  no 
relations  to  others  of  his  kind,  since  there  would  be 
no  sex,  and  since  each  individual  would  be  complete 
in  itself.  Consequently  there  could  be  no  possible 
breach  of  moral  obligations,  no  sin  in  its  social 
aspect,  in  the  lives  of  such  beings.  A  supreme 
egotism  would  determine  the  normal  line  of  conduct, 
and  that,  too,  without  sin  or  blame. 

Suppose   such  a  being   brought  into  a  sphere   of 


social  relations  by  the  introduction  of  sex.  We  have 
here  the  beginning  of  duty,  the  origin  of  social  ethics. 
There  would  henceforward  be  a  counter-strain  acting 
upon  the  original  egotism — love  to  wife,  love  to  family, 
enlarging  successively  by  duties  owed  to  the  tribe  and 
the  nation  into  patriotism.  All  these  duties  would 
be  in  conflict,  at  first,  with  purely  personal  desires. 
These  external  claims,  moreover,  would  become  more 
exacting  in  proportion  as  the  community  adopted  a 
higher  standard  of  public  duty,  and  they  would  tend 
to  be  enforced  by  punishment  inflicted  on  all  who 
neglected  them.  The  collective,  coercive  voice  of  the 
community  would  at  length  become  expressed  in  law. 
The  statute-book  would  furnish  the  standard  for  re- 
pressing the  purely  personal  instinct,  or  where  it 
failed,  a  common  sentiment — vox  populi — public 
opinion,  would  tend  more  and  more  to  restrain  in- 
dividual selfishness. 

This  external  reminder  that  a  man's  life  is  not  his 
own  would  be  persistent,  and  would  burn  into  the 
blood  of  each  individual,  in  each  passing  generation, 
respect  for  the  whole  community.  It  would  beget 
and  strengthen  the  social  instinct,  and  prepare  the 
individual,  under  the  incentives  of  the  religious  ideal, 
to  merge  his  personal  concerns  in  the  concerns  of  the 
whole, — to  realize  that  his  highest  life  is  not  in  the 
abundance  of  the  things  he  possesseth,  not  in 
the  satisfaction  of  purely  personal  desires,  but  in  the 
sacrifice  of  his  egotistic  instincts  to  the  welfare  of 
the  whole  community. 

If  all  men  were  actuated  by  this  spirit  we  should 
have  attained  the  social  ideal.  True  Socialism 
recognizes  that  selfishness  is  the  great  enemy  of 
progress,  and  that  the  man  who  evades  social  duties, 
who  tries  to  lead  an  egotistic  and  independent  life, 
without  consideration  for  the  whole,  is  a  sinner 
against  society — not  to  speak  of  a  higher  culpability. 

14  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

The  Christian  and  the  Socialist  are  thus  agreed  as 
to  the  true  aim  of  social  development.  They  both 
recognize  St.  Paul's  ideal  of  society,  that,  looking  not 
only  at  the  nation,  but  at  the  great  human  family  as 
a  whole,  when  one  member  suffers,  all  the  members 
suffer  with  it. 

This  interdependence  of  the  whole  human  family 
is  brought  home  to  us  more  vividly  every  day  by 
economic  proofs.  The  great  arteries  of  steam  com- 
munication all  over  the  world,  the  extending  nervous 
system  of  telegraphs,  are  manifestations  of  the  cor- 
porate life  of  nations.  A  dearth  or  an  abundance  in 
one  part  of  the  world  makes  itself  felt  everywhere. 
Prosperity  in  one  country  gives  greater  means  of 
purchasing  the  imports  from  another ;  a  famine  in 
one  country  means  the  cessation  of  exports,  which 
are  the  means  of  paying  for  what  men  require  from 
afar.  No  country  can,  therefore,  any  longer  "  live  to 
itself."  Solidarity,  in  a  word,  is  being  enforced  upon 
us  even  by  events  which  seem  in  themselves  non- 

This  gospel  of  the  solidarity  of  humanity  is  not  a 
new  one,  requiring  a  new  organization  and  the  enforce- 
ment of  new  motives  in  order  to  realize  it.  It  is  as  old 
as  Christianity.  The  hybrid  word  "  altruism,"  which 
expresses  the  incentive  to  solidarity,  and  which  some 
think  to  cover  an  ideal  as  new  as  the  invented  vocable, 
is  as  old  as  St.  Paul.  Ye  are  "  every  one  members 
one  of  another,"  "  many  members,  yet  one  body  ;  and 
the  eye  cannot  say  unto  the  hand,  I  have  no  need  of 
thee  :  nor  again  the  head  to  the  feet,  I  have  no  need 
of  thee."  The  term  "  body,"  used  by  St.  Paul  to  de- 
signate the  new  society  set  up  in  the  world  by  Jesus 
Christ,  enables  us  to  realize  more  fully  its  constitution 
and  aim.  St.  Paul  saw  in  this  society  a  combination  in 
which  the  members  might  each  have  as  varied  func- 
tions as  those  of  the  eye,  ear,  and  limbs  of  the  human 


organism,  and  yet  be  all  under  the  regime  of  the  one 
Head,  with  no  antagonism  or  friction  between  the 
components,  "  with  no  schism  in  the  body."  It  was  to 
be  a  visible  organization,  one  in  its  Head,  in  its  faith, 
and  in  its  entrance  rite.  The  apostles  and  evangelists, 
the  pastors  and  teachers,  were  given  for  the  edifying  of 
this  body  of  Christ  ;  and  the  work  of  building  up  the 
society  was  to  continue  "  until  we  all  come  to  the 
unity  of  the  faith,  and  of  the  knowledge  of  the  Son 
of  God,  unto  a  perfect  man,  unto  the  measure  of  the 
age  of  the  fulness  of  Christ." 

The  human  body  as  known  to  St.  Paul  illustrated 
in  its  co-operating  members  fully  enough  the  solidarity 
of  the  Christian  society.  All  the  knowledge  which 
we  have  acquired  about  the  body  since  his  day  serves 
but  to  bear  out  more  fully  the  truth  of  the  illustration. 

The  body,  as  known  to  the  modern  physiologist, 
is  built  up  of  myriads  of  minute  living  cells.  There 
are  muscular  cells,  fat  cells,  nerve  cells,  bone  cells, 
and  cells  floating  freely  in  the  blood.  Each  cell  has 
a  kind  of  independent  life,  but  a  life  that  is  con- 
ditioned by  the  well-being  of  the  whole.  No  cell 
can  live  to  itself,  and  each  and  all  are  at  their  best 
when  they  co-operate  together  and  work  in  harmony. 
Some  of  the  cells,  indeed,  if  we  may  trust  accredited 
physiologists,  have  such  a  function  assigned  to  them 
as  the  protection  of  the  citadel  of  the  body  from  the 
attacks  of  enemies.  These  cells  are  always  on  the 
look  out,  as  it  were,  for  any  virulent  microbes  which 
may  find  an  entrance  into  the  human  organism,  and 
are  competent,  if  in  vigorous  vitality,  to  make  away 
with  such  dangerous  intruders. 

The  principle  of  co-operation  could  find  no  more 
striking  illustration  than  in  the  attitude  of  the  cells  of 
the  human  body  to  each  other,  to  the  whole,  and  to 
external  influences  generally,  and  this  principle  of  co- 
operation was  contained  in  the  concept  of  St.  Paul.  If 

or  THC 
(    UNIVERSITY   ) 

1 6  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

that  large  section  of  society  which  calls  itself  Chris- 
tendom could  realize  the  concept  of  St.  Paul  in  such 
fashion,  that  each  member  of  it  should  stand  in  relation 
to  every  other,  as  each  cell  of  the  human  body  stands  to 
its  colleagues,  can  we  doubt  that  the  highest  interests 
of  the  Christian  community  would  be  secured  ?  Could 
any  statesman  or  any  enlightened  Socialist  conceive 
a  more  satisfactory  scheme  of  society?  If  a  com- 
bination of  men,  which  occupies  itself  with  securing 
the  interests  of  each  craftsman  of  a  certain  trade,  sees 
that  its  well-being  is  not  imperilled  by  becoming  a 
unit  in  a  larger  confederacy  of  all  trades,  would  it 
not  be  prepared  to  believe  that  the  principles  upon 
which  it  is  formed  would  find  a  fuller  and  more 
satisfactory  application  in  a  labour  league  which, 
embracing  all  workers,  would  transcend  the  limits  of 
language,  national  boundaries,  and  race  ?  The  one 
Holy,  Catholic,  and  Apostolic  Church  is,  in  fact,  but 
an  extension  of  this  idea  of  social  union — an  organi- 
zation which  aims  at  extending  the  "  labour  league  " 
into  a  league  of  all  men,  in  order  to  secure  the 
individual  interests,  temporal  and  eternal,  of  all  its 

Can  such  an  organization,  in  which  most  Christians 
express  their  faith  by  the  lips,  ever  be  realized— 
realized,  I  mean,  in  such  a  way  as  St.  Paul  describes  the 
Church  ?  The  belief  in  an  invisible  Church  maintained 
by  some,  can  only  be  logically  held  by  those  who 
believe  that  Christianity  has  nothing  to  do  with  the 
temporal  welfare  of  its  adherents,  but  is  a  simple 
sifting  machine,  by  which  a  few  previously  determined 
souls  are  to  be  selected  out  of  the  many  for  a  higher 
stage  of  existence.  Our  Lord's  solemn  prayer,  thrice 
repeated  at  the  most  solemn  moment  of  His  life,  for 
the  unity  of  His  followers,  gives  no  countenance  to 
such  a  view  :  "  That  they  all  may  be  one  :  I  in  them, 
and  Thou  in  Me,  that  they  may  ^perfect  in  one  ;  that 

SOCIAL    UNION  AND    CHURCH   UNITY.        17 

the  world  may  know  that  Thou  hast  sent  Me."  The 
visible  proof  to  the  world  of  His  own  Divine  mission 
is  made  here  to  depend  upon  the  unity  and  consequent 
perfection  of  His  followers.  All  preaching  and  teach- 
ing, as  St.  Paul  tells  us,  is  in  order  that  we  may  all 
come  to  the  unity  of  the  faith — to  that  condition  of 
things  when  the  vision  of  the  prophet  will  be  realized, 
and  men  shall  no  longer  look  for  rules  of  conduct  to 
external  statutes,  but  shall  have  God's  Law  written 
in  their  hearts,  and  all  shall  know  Him  from  the  least 
to  the  greatest.1 

Is  it  not  strange  that  such  a  state  of  things,  the 
unconscious  aim  of  all  social  reformers,  should  seem  so 
visionary,  so  Utopian,  that  its  consideration  can  barely 
be  entertained  by  practical  men  ?  The  unity  for  which 
our  Lord  prayed;  the  Church  without  blemish,  or 
wrinkle,  or  any  such  thing,  which  St.  Paul  foresaw  ;  the 
one  Holy  Catholic  Church  in  which  we  all  profess  our 
faith  ; — is  this  never  to  come  into  the  consideration  of 
men  as  capable  of  practical  realization  ?  If  we  are 
prepared  to  think  that  our  Lord's  prayer  for  visible 
unity  can  never  be  attained  in  this  world,  what 
warrant  can  we  have  that  any  of  our  own  prayers 
will  be  successful  ?  There  is,  in  truth,  no  reason  for 
such  apathy  and  unconcern.  Even  at  this  moment 
all  Christian  men  are  consciously  or  unconsciously 
yearning  after  unity.  It  is  in  the  air.  Labour  com- 
binations, Grindelwald  conferences,  Papal  Rescripts 
addressed  to  east  and  west,  manifestoes  of  leading 
English  Churchmen,  are  all  indications  that  the 
Holy  Spirit  of  unity  is  at  this  moment  especially 
at  work  in  the  hearts  of  men.  Is  it  not  a  remarkable 
fact  that  the  head  of  the  great  Latin  Church  should 
at  this  time  be  using  words  of  conciliation  and  peace 
to  the  non-Roman  world  ?  May  we  not  consider  it 
as  providential,  and  as  making  for  unity,  that  he 

1  Jer.  xxxi.  33,  34. 

1 8  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

should  be  empowered  by  the  Latin  Communion  to 
"  voice  "  that  Church  in  deciding  questions  of  faith  ? 
Is  it  too  much  to  see  in  all  these  movements  the 
pledges  of  the  final  attainment  of  Christian  union, 
which  is  the  truest  form  of  social  union  ?  The 
obstacles  to  such  a  realization  are,  it  is  true,  many 
and  serious.  Arrayed  against  the  Power  that  makes 
for  solidarity  and  unity,  are  all  the  works  of  the  flesh 
— the  seven  deadly  sins,  Pride,  Covetousness,  Lust, 
Envy,  Gluttony,  Anger,  Sloth — which  are  as  inimical 
to  the  temporal  interests  of  man  as  they  are  to  his 
eternal  welfare.  Strong  though  these  enemies  are, 
enthroned  as  they  may  be  in  the  hearts  of  thousands 
of  professing  Christians,  we  ought  not  to  fear  the  final 
issue,  for  we  have  the  secure  promise  of  final  triumph 
— "The  gates  of  hell  shall  not  prevail  against  the 
Church  of  Christ."  Each  one  of  us,  in  the  mean  time, 
can  do  something  to  mar  or  promote  that  unity. 
We  can  war  against  selfishness  in  our  own  hearts. 
We  can  help  to  make  public  opinion  a  more  perfect 
representative  of  the  Christian  conscience.  We  can 
show,  by  our  interests  in  the  great  social  questions  of 
the  time,  that  we  have  sympathy  with  everything 
that  tends  to  secure  the  prosperity  of  all  men.  We 
can  study,  too,  the  causes  and  history  of  our  divisions. 
The  series  of  publications  published  under  the 
Master  of  the  Rolls  will  afford  us  abundant  material 
for  following  the  early  division-movements  in  this 
country ;  and  I  think  it  may  be  safely  said,  on  the 
evidence  of  these  documents,  that  the  main  and 
immediate  causes  of  these  movements  were  political, 
and  not  religious.  The  subsequent  divisions  in  this 
country  which  have  ended — can  we  say  ended  ? — in 
producing  some  three  hundred  sects  among  us,  will 
be  found  to  have  been  owing  in  the  main  to  the  im- 
perfect knowledge  of  their  promoters  ;  to  the  tyranny 
of  words,  which  are  "  the  counters  of  wise  men  and 


the  money  of  fools,"  and  to  the  subtle  pride  of  men. 
Each  body  of  Christians  naturally  thinks  itself  pos- 
sessed of  the'"  truth/'  and  therefore  cannot  see  its  way 
to  endanger  this  sacred  deposit  in  any  steps  towards 
union.     But  is  it  possible  that  the  "  truth  "  can  be  a 
divider?     Where  is  the  judge,  too,  who  will  decide 
between   all  these  rival  possessors  of  "the  truth "? 
An  appeal   to  the   sacred  Scriptures  has   been  the 
ostensible  cause  of  the  variance,  and  can,  therefore, 
hardly  bring  about  union.    We  know  that  the  Church 
existed,  and  had  accomplished  the  conversion  of  a 
large    portion    of   the   Roman    empire,   before   the 
documents  of  the  New  Testament  were  put  together. 
Indeed,  we  have  no  warrant  from  the  sacred  writings 
themselves  that  the  Church  was  to  be  founded  upon 
documents.      It  was  founded  by  men,  Jesus  Christ 
being  the  chief  Corner  Stone  of  its  foundation ;  and 
the  deeds  of  these  men  and  their  successors,  as  they  are 
recorded  in  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles  and  other  chapters 
in  early  Church  history,  were  under  God  the  means  of 
building  it  up.     We  can  study  these  records  in  such  a 
spirit  of  humility  as  will  make  us  ready  recipients  of 
even  new  and  unpalatable  truths.     We  can  pray  for 
enlightenment  best  when  using  the  means  to  obtain 
it,   and   we   can,  following   the  Apostle's  command, 
"  mark  them  which   cause  divisions   among  you  "— 
divisions  which  lead  to  the  frittering  away  of  spiritual 
power  in  antagonism  with  each  other  which  ought 
to  be  expended  against  the  common  enemy,  divisions 
which  make  it  easy  for  the  selfish  to  secure  their 
ends,  and  defeat  the  aims  of  all  true  social  combina- 
tion.    We  can,  above  all,  echo  our  Lord's  prayer  for 
visible  unity.    "  Pray  for  the  peace  of  Jerusalem  :  they 
shall  prosper  that  love  thee." 

[A  portion  of  the  conclusion  of  this  sermon  was,  for  time-reasons, 
omitted  in  delivery.] 



REV.   T.   HANCOCK,  M.A., 

Lecturer  of  St.  Nicholas  Cole  Abbey,  London. 

Acts  ii.  8-1 1,  40-47  ;  iii.  1-6  ;  iv.  1-3,  7-12. 

THIS  is  a  very  long  text  for  a  short  sermon,  but  it  is 
the  shortness  of  the  sermon  which  makes  it  needful 
to  take  so  long  a  text.  The  text  is  itself  a  sermon 
which  sets  before  us  the  alliance  and  the  contrast 
between  those  two  cities  or  commonwealths,  the 
ecclesiastical  and  the  civil,  to  which  every  Church- 
man belongs.  In  the  early  sections  we  see  "the 
Jerusalem  above,"  whereof  the  Apostle  of  the  Nations 
told  the  Galatians  they  had  by  baptism  received  the 
franchise  ;  therein  Jew  and  Greek,  bond  and  free,  are 
equally  citizens,  and  she  is  "the  mother  of  us  all." 
In  the  later  sections  we  see  "  the  Jerusalem  above  " 
exercising  her  "  political  office  "  in  the  midst  of  "  the 
Jerusalem  that  now  is,"  the  secular  city  or  common- 
wealth. The  very  same  persons  who  in  the  secular 
city  are  sundered  into  castes  and  classes,  sects  and 
parties,  citizens  and  slaves,  "  impotent "  and  healthy, 
learned  and  ignorant,  are  by  the  universal  ecclesi- 
astical city — which  is  therefore  the  most  real 
commonwealth — united  in  one  community  and 
fellowship  through  Christ  Jesus  the  Lord,  as  they 


are  in  every  common  or  parish  church.  His  Apostles 
at  once  begin  to  assert  that  the  "  Jerusalem  above," 
the  Catholic  Church,  is  in  so  full  a  sense  "  the  mother 
of  us  all,"  the  mother  alike  of  Christianity  and  of 
Humanity,  that  the  first  man  whom  they  "  save  "  in 
Christ's  name  is  not  a  Christian.  He  is  a  lame 
beggar,  who  is  outside  the  new  fellowship  of  Christi- 
anity, who  has  not  yet  been  christened.  "  His  Name 
through  faith  in  His  Name  hath  made  this  man 
strong,  whom  ye  see  and  know :  yea,  the  faith  which 
is  by  Him  hath  given  him  this  perfect  soundness  in 
the  presence  of  you  all."  St.  Peter  here  asserts,  as 
St.  Paul  afterwards  urged  his  episcopal  successor  to 
teach,  that  the  Head  of  the  Church  is  not  only  the 
Saviour  "specially  of  those  that  believe,"  but 
because  He  is  the  Saviour  of  the  faithful,  "is  the 
Saviour  of  all  men  ; "  so  that  every  lame  and  im- 
potent beggar,  in  every  secular  State,  has  a  right  to 
the  very  greatest  expectations  from  Jesus  Christ 
and  His  bishops,  and  from  us  the  members  of  His 


It  would  be  easy  to  preach  a  hundred  sermons 
upon  the  title  which  has  been  given  me  to-day  as 
my  text.  What  the  brother  who  wished  me  to  speak 
upon  "The  Political  Office  of  the  Church"  exactly 
meant  by  this  encyclopaedical  sentence,  I  do  not 
know.  I  feel  how  difficult  it  is  to  talk  for  a  limited 
time  about  so  unlimited  a  matter  without  uttering 
truisms  which  most  of  us  consent  unto,  though  few 
of  us  may  act  upon  them.  The  line  which  I  intend 
to  take,  after  much  thinking  over  it,  may  not  be  the 
best  in  itself,  but  it  will  certainly  be  the  best  to 
relieve  me  from  impertinence,  and  to  serve  you  with 
hints  which  may  help  you  to  understand  "  the 
political  office"  which  you  hold  in  your  national 

22  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

State  and  in  your  local  parishes  as  the  citizens  of 
the  supernal  Jerusalem.  I  propose  only  the  very 
modest  task  of  reminding  you  what  we  ought  in  a 
parish  church  to  mean  by  the  three  terms  in  the 
title,  "The  Church,"  "Political,"  and  "Office,"  or  at 
least  part  of  what  we  ought  to  mean  by  them. 

Although  such  a  method  as  this  may  not  be  exciting 
or  interesting,  it  seems  to  be  needful.  For  you  have 
perhaps  noticed  that  our  professional  politicians,  our 
newspapers,  and  our  other  public  enlighteners  or 
mystifiers,  mostly  use  each  of  these  terms  in  the 
vaguest  manner,  as  if  everybody  knew  what  they 
meant,  or  nobody  should  be  disturbed  about  their 
meaning,  (i)  By  "the  Church,"  they  mean  the 
bishops  and  the  beneficed  clergy.  (2)  By  "  Political," 
they  mean  the  very  thing  which  the  Church,  as  the 
common  mother  of  us  all,  is  obliged  to  regard  as 
most  anti-political,  namely,  the  squabbles  between 
the  rival  parties  which  divide  and  rend  the  political 
commonwealth,  the  ups  and  downs  of  Whigs  and 
Tories,  Radicals  and  Conservatives,  money-lords  and 
landlords,  Progressives  and  Moderates,  or  whatever 
be  the  political  nicknames  of  the  hour  and  place. 
The  Church  justifies  that  political  ideal  which  is  more 
or  less  clearly  seen  by  each  party  ;  but  she  condemns 
the  unneighbourly  hatred,  slander,  false  witness,  and 
conceit  by  which  each  party  attempts  to  realize  an 
ideal  which  it  professes  to  be  intended  for  the  profit 
of  the  undivided  commonwealth.  The  common 
ecclesiastical  mother  reminds  the  Tory  politician  that 
his  very  first  obligation  to  God  and  the  community 
is  to  look  chiefly  at  the  good  side  of  Radicalism  and 
Radicals,  and  she  preaches  to  the  Radical  believer 
the  precisely  contrary  social  morality  to  that  which  he 
preaches  on  the  platform  and  reads  in  the  newspaper. 
They  are  equally  her  children  ;  and  her  estimate  of 
the  slaves  of  both  parties  is  to  be  seen  in  that 


"  General  Confession  "  to  which  she  calls  them  both 
in  her  "Common"  Prayer.  (3)  By  "  Office,"  the 
parties  which  divide  the  commonwealth  seem  usually 
to  mean  the  individual  wealth,  place,  or  power  which 
may  be  obtained  at  the  end  of  a  campaign  by  the 
cunningest  fighter  for  the  triumphant  party.  The 
bewildered  citizen  has  always  to  come  out  of  the 
heated  strife  of  the  dividing  parties  into  the  cool 
shadow  of  the  common  uniting  parish  church,  in 
order  to  learn  the  right  meaning  of  his  everyday 
"  political "  phrases. 


What  ought  we,  as  the  citizens  of  Christianity,  to 
understand  by  these  terms  ?  By  "  the  Church  "  we 
ought  to  mean  the  whole  organic  body  of  the  bap- 
tized, not  in  England  and  Wales  merely,  but  through- 
out all  the  nations  upon  earth,  with  the  apostolic 
bishops  whom  Christ  Jesus  has  sent  to  the  national 
polities,  and  the  priests  and  deacons  whom  He  has 
sent  into  the  local  polities.  I  say  expressly  "  The 
Church,"  because  the  two  kindred  parties  which 
occupy  so  much  time  and  space  in  the  field  of 
politics — the  Liberationists  and  the  Erastians — never 
speak  of  "  The  Church."  Or  if  they  speak  of  "  the 
Church,"  the  one  and  only  Church,  it  is  as  some 
vague  and  intangible  ecclesia  in  nubibus  beyond  the 
reach  of  political  life,  and  which  cannot  be  set  upon 
a  hill,  so  that  all  men  on  earth  may  see  it,  and  go  up 
into  it.  They  say  that  "  Tlte  Church  "  is  "  invisible." 
If  so,  the  Church  can  have  no  "  political  office  "  at  all. 
The  Liberationists  and  the  Erastians  always  speak 
either  of  "  a  Church"  or  of  "  the  Churches."'  But,  as 
by  birth  or  naturalization  men  are  made  members 
of  the  one  nation  of  England,  or  the  one  nation  of 
Russia,  and  may  become  citizens  or  parts  of  the 

24  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

State  polity  of  either ;  so  by  baptism  the  same  men  are 
made  natives  or  citizens  of  a  catholic  commonwealth, 
a  universal  human  State,  city,  or  polity.  Men,  women, 
and  children  subject  to  the  law  of  England  thereby 
become  fellow-citizens  of  the  saints  in  Russia,  Italy, 
and  Spain — witnesses  to  the  unseen  King  and  Re- 
deemer of  all  mankind.  All  these  various  and  un- 
like persons,  Jew  or  Greek,  bond  or  free,  male  or 
female,  impotent  or  wholesome,  as  the  Apostle  of 
Nations  said  to  the  Galatians,  are  actually  constituted 
by  the  common  christening  into  one  body,  one  polity, 
one  commonwealth,  one  Christianity,  one  Church, 
into  whatever  contrary  sects  or  parties  they  may  be 
dividing  themselves.  "  The  Church "  has  this  in- 
destructible affinity  with  the  State,  as  Richard 
Hooker  said  to  Archbishop  Whitgift,  that  she  "  is  a 
city  (civitds))  a  state,  a  commonwealth  ;  yea,  something 
more  than  '  a  city/  for  she  is  the  city  of  the  great 
King  ;  and  the  life  of  a  city  is  polity?  Hence,  as  he 
shows,  comes  her  inherent  sympathy  with  whatever 
is  "  political."  But  she  is  the  one  commonwealth  of 
world-wide  extent.  Hence  every  English  parish  joins 
itself  by  its  own  congregational  Te  Deum  in  the 
common  worship  of  "the  Holy  Church  throughout 
all  the  world."  Hence,  too,  the  pastor  of  every  Eng- 
lish parish  is  intentionally  ordained  not  as  the  mere 
priest  of  a  Church  of  England,  as  the  Liberationists 
and  Erastians  fancy,  but  as  "  a  priest  of  the  Church  of 
God,"  and  so  is  he  established  in  an  "office"  with  which 
no  one  State  on  earth  may  dare  to  interfere.  The 
Church  in  all  the  nations  is  one,  and  only  one.  It 
is  as  impossible  for  there  to  be  two,  or  three,  or  a 
hundred  "  Churches,"  as  it  is  for  there  to  be  two,  or 
three,  or  a  hundred  baptisms  ;  or  to  be  two,  or  three, 
or  a  hundred  Christs ;  or  two,  or  three,  or  a  hundred 
Gods.  This  catholic  or  human-universal  constituency 
of  the  Church  is  one  reason  why  "  the  political  office 


of  the  Church,"  in  every  nation,  must  be  something 
altogether  unlike  any  other  political  force  within  that 

Other  reasons,  of  course,  there  are  for  the  distinctive 
character  of  "  the  political  office  of  the  Church "  in 
each  of  the  nations,  which  for  time's  sake  I  must 
omit.  Yet  one  of  these  so  often  confronts  us  in  our 
political  life  that  I  ought  not  to  leave  it  unmentioned  ; 
I  mean  the  moral  contrast  between  the  laws  of  Christ's 
commonwealth  and  the  laws  of  any  and  every  State 
in  which  it  is  established,  or  is  seeking  to  establish 
itself.  Where  the  State  says  to  the  citizen,  "  Thou 
shalt  do  no  murder,"  the  Church  says  to  the  same 
citizen  what  the  Parliament  dares  not  say :  "  He  that 
hateth  his  brother  is  a  murderer  ; "  "  Thou  shalt  love 
thy  neighbour  as  thyself."  The  Church,  as  "the 
mother  of  us  all,"  is  the  mediator  and  advocate  for  the 
human,  humane,  equal,  or  universal  rights  of  the  free 
citizen  and  of  the  slave,  the  native  and  the  foreigner ; 
she  is  the  divinely  established  and  divinely  endowed 
representative,  within  every  State,  of  the  rights  of 
man  as  man,  and  of  that  entire  humanity  whereof 
every  State  is  but  a  fragment. 

What  ought  we,  as  citizens  of  Christ's  society,  to 
mean  by  "  office "  ?  Surely  we  must  mean  that 
which  we  are  all  obliged  to  understand  by  it,  often 
disagreeably  enough,  in  daily  life.  "  Office ;J  is  an 
obligation,  duty,  or  debt  which  is  peculiar  to  us,  for 
which  we  are  personally  qualified,  or  are  taken  to  be 
qualified ;  and  it  is  a  debt  which  is  so  binding  upon 
us,  that  we  ought  not  to  shuffle  it  off  upon  another 
who  does  not  owe  this  debt.  The  "  political  office  " 
of  the  Church  must  therefore  be  such  duty  or  duties 
as  the  Church  owes  to  political  life,  which  the  Church 
is  peculiarly  called  and  qualified  to  render,  and  which 
no  proxy  or  substitute  for  the  Church  can  properly 
do  in  her  stead.  "  I  am  debtor,"  said  the  Apostle  of 

26  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

States  to  the  Church  of  Rome,  "  both  to  the  Greeks 
and   the  Barbarians ;  both   to  the  wise  and  to  the 


But  I  am  restricted  by  the  title  to  "political" 
office.  Wise  men  have  disagreed  over  the  question 
whether  the  quality  "  political  "  belongs  rightly  to 
an  art  or  a  science.  Perhaps  we  may  say  that  politics 
is  both  the  science  and  the  art  of  a  righteous  common 
life  in  the  city,  state,  nation,  or  fatherland  of  which 
the  Father  of  all  has  made  us  to  be  members ;  and 
so  includes  alike  the  true  doctrine  of  nationality  and 
of  citizenship,  and  the  just  conduct  of  natives  and  of 
citizens.  The  political  science  of  the  Church  is  in 
the  common  or  catholic  dogma  and  creed  which  St. 
Peter  here  recited  to  the  rulers  of  his  people.  The 
political  art  of  the  Church  is  the  practical  application 
of  all  the  articles  of  this  creed  to  the  education,  libera- 
tion, salvation,  healing,  or  making  whole  of  the  "  im- 
potent," the  suffering,  desolate,  and  oppressed  amongst 
our  neighbours  and  fellow-citizens  who  are  of  the 
same  body  with  ourselves  in  the  same  national 

By  "political"  we  mostly  mean  "national."  In 
the  most  important  province  of  politics,  the  social, 
where  we  English  use  the  Greek  adjective  "political," 
the  Germans  and  Italians  use  the  Roman  adjective 
"  national."  We  speak  of  "  political  economy," 
they  of  "  national-okonomie "  and  " economia  nation- 
ale  : "  but  we  mean  the  same  thing.  The  politics 
of  the  state  or  nation  deals  with  that  which  is 
national ;  or  if  it  deals  with  international  or  uni- 
versal human  concerns,  it  is  principally  when  poli- 
ticians and  newspapers  think  that  they  affect  the 
nation.  But  it  is  the  office  of  the  Church,  in  every 
nation,  to  deal  with  that  which  is  universal,  human, 
or  humane,  or  that  which  belongs  to  man  as  man. 
So  it  is  part  of  her  political  office,  in  every  nation,  to 


represent  not  only  all  the  unrepresented  and  the  mis- 
represented, the  desolate  and  oppressed,  the  outcasts 
of  that  nation,  but  also  even  the  outlandish — the  men, 
women,  and  children  of  other  nations.  When  I  say 
this  is  the  office  of  the  Church,  I  mean  it  is  the  office 
and  obligation  of  each  English  citizen,  who  is  also  a 
citizen  of  Christ's  catholic  commonwealth.  It  is  this 
that  justifies  Englishmen  in  clamouring  for  the  salva- 
tion of  the  "  impotent "  Armenians. 

You  will  see,  I  hope,  how  the  political  science 
of  the  Church  and  the  political  art  and  office 
of  the  Church  were  combined  in  the  very  earliest 
political  experience  of  the  universal  ecclesiastical 
community.  One  lame  citizen  is  brought  before 
us  in  the  text.  This  one  impotent  beggar,  in  the 
belief  of  St.  Peter  and  St.  John,  the  two  bishops  of 
the  Church,  as  they  are  going  up  to  the  common 
worship  in  the  great  national  cathedral,  becomes  the 
foremost  and  most  important  of  all  their  fellow- 
citizens.  They  do  not  ask  him  whether  he  is  a 
Christian,  a  member  of  Christ's  new  universal  common- 
wealth. But  in  the  name  and  power  of  Jesus  Christ, 
the  universal-human  King  and  Saviour,  Whose  legates 
they  are,  they  exercise  their  "  political  office "  by 
saving  or  making  whole  this  miserable  beggar,  their 
fellow-citizen  in  the  secular  Jerusalem.  They  assert 
that  supernatural  alliance  between  Christ's  Church 
and  the  national  State  which  Parliaments  can  never 
disestablish ;  and  they  declare  what  sort  of  men 
ought  to  be  the  first  and  foremost  care  of  the  political 
commonwealth,  because  such  are  the  first  and  fore- 
most care  of  Him  Who  only  can  be  called  "  the  Man." 
Before  His  throne  all  "  nations''  now  stand  gathered, 
and  to  Him  each  secular  State,  as  well  as  His  own 
Church,  is  subject  as  its  Judge,  and  it  is  held  by  Him 
responsible,  as  He  had  told  His  Apostles  a  few  days 
before  His  execution,  for  its  conduct  to  every  hungry, 

28  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

thirsty,  naked,  foreign,  sick,  imprisoned,  or  other  im- 
potent person  within  its  jurisdiction. 

Everything  in  these  first  chapters  of  the  Acts  of  the 
Apostles,  at  the  beginning  of  the  office  of  the  Church 
in  the  State  of  Jewry,  seems  to  me  to  be  "  political." 
These  rulers  who  laid  hands  on  the  Apostles,  and  put 
them  in  hold  until  the  next  day,  examined  the 
bishops  of  the  Church  on  the  morrow  as  political 
offenders.  The  rulers  were  mostly  "  Sadducees,"  as  the 
historian  reminds  us,  such  as  would  now  think  them- 
selves the  advanced,  critical,  anti-dogmatic,  rational, 
enlightened  class  of  the  nation.  These  were  the 
rulers  who  had  politically  said,  "  We  have  no  king  but 
Caesar."  They  had  already  put  the  Head  of  the 
Church  to  death,  not  only  for  blasphemy  in  making 
Himself  to  be  the  Son  of  God  in  some  sense  in 
which  no  other  man  can  be,  but  for  "  political "  crime 
in  making  Himself  to  be  a  King ;  yea,  the  King  of 
truth  and  conscience,  which  must  imply  a  universal- 
human  kingdom,  to  which  every  politician  as  well  as 
every  ecclesiastic  is  subject.  To  this  King,  to  His 
kingdom,  the  Apostles  were  to  be  "  witnesses."  This 
was  their  "  political  office,"  as  it  is  still  of  the  Church 
after  them.  So  Jesus  said  and  says,  "Ye  shall  be  wit- 
nesses unto  Me."  The  Book  of  the  Acts  is  the  first 
Church  newspaper.  It  relates  how  these  rulers  who 
said,  "  We  have  no  king  but  Caesar,"  and  how  the  poli- 
tical majority  which  had  heaped  its  votes  uponBarabbas 
— which  had  disestablished  Jesus  of  His  kingdom 
and  disendowed  Him  of  His  life — are  now  suddenly 
confronted  by  Christ's  universal  society.  These  Jews 
and  Greeks,  and  folk  of  all  Nations,  agree  in  declaring 
Christ  to  be  risen,  ascended,  and  sitting  at  the 
Father's  right  hand  as  "  the  Prince  and  Saviour,"  the 
Champion  and  the  "  Maker-whole  "  of  the  impotent, 
miserable,  oppressed,  and  sinful  members  of  the 
secular  commonwealth,  which  can  never  be  more 


than  the  caricature  of  a  real  commonwealth  so  long 
as  it  contains  any  miserable  and  wicked  members, 
or  until  Christ  Jesus  is  so  owned  and  obeyed  as  its 
King,  that  all  in  it  are  made  whole.  "  Be  it  known 
unto  you  all " — ye  rulers  of  the  people  and  elders  of 
Israel — "and  to  all  the  people  of  Israel,  that  by  the 
Name  of  Jesus  Christ  of  Nazareth,  Whom  ye  crucified'* 
—ye  prime  ministers  and  chancellors  by  your  sinister 
party-policy,  and  ye  majority  of  the  people  by  your 
blind  ungodly  votes — "  Whom  God  raised  from  the 
dead,  even  by  Him  doth  this  man  " — a  mere  beggar 
in  your  streets,  the  characteristic  product  of  your 
kind  of  ruling  and  of  voting—"  stand  here  before  you 
whole.  This  is  the  Stone  Which  was  set  at  nought 
of  you  builders  " — of  a  shoddy  Babylon — "  Which  is 
become  the  Head-stone  of  the  corner.  Neither  is 
there  salvation  in  any  other:  for  there  is  none 
other  name  under  heaven  given  among  men,  where- 
by we  must  be  saved"  Possibly  these  politicians  of 
Jewry  would  have  told  the  man,  as  our  rich  place- 
mongers  and  politicians  have  lately  been  telling 
the  poor  parish  priests  of  Christ  in  Wales,  that  a 
beggarly  condition  is  helpful  to  "  spirituality,"  and 
that  a  man  may  travel  more  quickly  to  their  Elysium 
if  he  be  made  "  impotent,"  whether  by  the  sins  of 
society  or  its  parliaments. 

It  is  perhaps  worth  observing  that  St.  Peter's 
political  sermon  to  the  rulers  and  citizens  of  Jewry 
is  cited  in  the  eighteenth  Article  of  Religion,  "  Of 
obtaining  eternal  salvation  only  by  the  Name  of 
Christ."  Now,  St.  Peter  uses  one  and  the  same  verb 
(<roi£w)  for  the  making  whole  of  the  lame  beggar  and 
for  the  salvation  of  the  entire  human  race.  But  whilst 
our  translators  have  rendered  it  as  "  made  whole  "  in 
Acts  iv.  9,  where  the  Apostle  applies  it  to  the  personal 
salvation  of  his  wretched  fellow-citizen  from  lame- 
ness, they  have  rendered  it  as  "saved"  in  ver.  12, 

30  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

where  the  Apostle  applies  it  to  the  social  entirety  of 
mankind  "  under  heaven  " — that  is,  to  every  man  in 
every  nook  and  corner  of  every  polity  on  the  earth. 
So  that  our  English  Bible  has  omitted  that  very  point 
which  St.  Peter  emphasizes  in  his  political  sermon 
to  the  politicians  and  people  of  his  city.  For  the 
Apostle  preached  the  inseparable  oneness  of  secular 
and  "  eternal  salvation  "  in  the  one  Saviour  of  body, 
soul,  and  spirit. 




Winchester  College  Mission. 

"THERE  is  a  Church  question  to-day.  Something 
wants  doing."  I  would  thus  venture  to  translate 
Prince  Bismarck's  famous  words.  The  very  fact  that 
I  am  asked  to  speak  upon  the  question  of  Town 
Missions,  and  that  one  of  the  Church  papers  has  for 
the  last  six  or  seven  weeks  delivered  itself  over  to 
the  discussion  of  the  question,  "  Why  don't  working 
men  come  to  Church?"  surely  proves  conclusively 
that  something  wants  doing. 

For  the  last  eighteen  years  of  my  life  I  have 
lived  amongst  working  men,  the  vast  majority  of 
whom  are  altogether  untouched  by  the  Church  of 
England.  Working  as  a  layman,  I  saw  this  more 
plainly  than  I  do  to-day,  though  I  have  tried,  even 
after  I  was  ordained,  to  preserve  my  common 
sense.  When  I  was  ordained,  I  was  sent  by  Bishop 
How  to  a  district  containing  seven  thousand  people 
in  the  East  End  of  London.  I  don't  believe  that 
twenty-five  of  these  were  influenced  by  the  Church 
of  England.  Nine  years  ago  I  took  charge  of  my 
present  district  in  Landport.  It  contains  between 
five  and  six  thousand  people.  Dr.  Linklater  had 
had  charge  of  it  for  two  years.  When  he  came  there 
were  not  five  communicants  living  in  it.  Nor  is  this 

32  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

to  be  wondered  at.  The  parish  from  which  it  is 
taken  contained  twenty-three  thousand  people,  and 
was  worked  by  a  vicar  and  a  curate.  I  thank  God 
there  were  five  active  centres  of  Dissenting  worship 
in  my  own  district  alone.  In  the  county  of  Hamp- 
shire there  are  practically  three  great  towns.  Win- 
chester, with  a  population  of  over  nineteen  thousand, 
has  twelve  beneficed  clergy,  dean,  archdeacons, 
canons,  minor  canons,  etc. ;  Southampton,  with  a 
population  over  sixty-five  thousand,  has  fifteen  bene- 
ficed clergy ;  Portsmouth,  with  a  population  of  over 
one  hundred  and  fifty-nine  thousand,  has  sixteen 
beneficed  clergy.  Canon  Jacob  in  Portsmouth,  with 
splendid  self-denial,  keeps  nine  curates  ;  but  there  are 
few  Canon  Jacobs  in  the  Church  of  England.  The 
real  difficulty  is  that  those  in  authority  know  nothing 
about  it.  Bishops  give  timely  notice  before  they 
visit  parishes,  and  generally  see  things  through  the 
spectacles  of  the  clergyman  or  of  the  ecclesiastical 
layman — generally  a  much  more  ecclesiastical  person 
than  the  clergyman  himself.  If  they  want  to  know 
the  real  truth,  let  them  get  a  census  made  of  the 
male  communicants.  It  is  far  wiser  to  know  your 
weakness  than  to  know  your  strength. 

Many  believe  that  increase  of  population  will 
explain  our  present  failure.  But  did  you  ever  know 
a  new  district  springing  up  without  some  Dissenting 
worship  being  offered  to  the  people  ?  I  don't  believe 
it  is  a  want  of  liberality  on  the  part  of  Church- 
people  that  prevents  the  Church  of  England  doing 
the  same.  It  is  the  red  tape  of  the  ecclesiastical 
commissioners,  and  the  freehold  of  the  parochial 
clergy.  But  even  in  places  where  there  has  been 
no  increase  of  population — the  large  mother  parishes 
of  London,  and  little  village  churches  where  for 
the  last  thousand  years  there  have  been  priests 
and  sacraments — what  is  the  proportion  of  regular 


communicants?  Don't  think  for  a  moment  that  I 
mean  to  say  that  the  working  man  of  England  has 
lost  his  respect  for  religion.  I  read  in  a  French 
author  once,  "  You  in  England  have  two  sacraments, 
the  Bible  and  Sunday.  You  retain  them  both.  We 
had  seven,  and  have  well-nigh  lost  them  all."  I  would 
to  God  that  I  could  impress  upon  you  how  much  the 
maintenance  of  this  respect  for  religion  has  depended 
on  our  English  Bible  and  our  English  Sunday.  Let 
us  be  very  cautious  before  we  dare,  by  act  or  word,  to 
weaken  their  influence.  Don't  let  us  be  ashamed  to 
confess  what  we  owe  to  the  splendid  work  of  the 
Dissenters.  It  makes  me  oftentimes  sick  at  heart 
to  hear  the  way  in  which  the  newly  ordained,  strong 
in  the  orthodoxy  of  his  High-Church  collar,  and  of  his 
grasp  of  doctrine,  speaks  of  these  class-leaders  at 
whose  feet  he  is  unworthy  to  sit.  And  yet,  thankful 
as  we  are  to  God  for  the  self-denying  and  consistent 
witness  that  they  have  borne  to  Jesus,  a  present 
Saviour,  we  cannot  but  recognize  that  without  the 
Church  men  cannot  be  perfected.  The  Church  has 
lost  its  hold  on  them,  and  they  have  lost  their  hold 
on  the  supernatural.  The  Reformation  in  England, 
the  work  of  the  king  and  the  aristocracy,  never  really 
touched  the  common  people ;  and  because  it  lacked  a 
popular  element,  lost  its  democratic  side,  the  chief 
power  in  the  Catholic  Church  for  revolutionizing  the 
world.  The  parish  became  the  property  of  the  in- 
cumbent, the  diocese  of  the  bishop.  You  remember 
the  story  of  the  wife  of  an  established  minister  in 
Scotland  remonstrating  with  her  husband  when  she 
saw  all  the  people  crowding  into  the  Free  Church,  and 
his  answer,  "  He,  my  dear,  may  get  the  people,  but 
I  have  got  the  tithes  in  my  pocket."  The  incomes 
given  in  pre-Reformation  times  partly  for  services  now 
discontinued,  or  only  now  just  being  gradually  re- 
stored, and  partly  for  the  good  of  the  poor,  their 


34  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

education  and  their  needs,  the  clergyman  being  then 
the  only  man  of  light  and  of  learning,  has  become 
now  the  prey  of  his  wife  and  his  sons  and  daughters, 
enabling  them  to  be  educated  like  ladies  and  gentle- 
men, and  to  take  their  part  in  upper-class  society. 
Not  only  is  the  money  their  prey,  but  oftentimes  the 
management  of  the  parish  as  well.  Do  you  think 
that  you  will  get  working  men,  or  any  other  men, 
interested  in  that  in  which  they  have  neither  part  nor 
lot?  Practically  the  clergyman  is  forced  upon  the 
parish,  and  in  turn  enforces  his  own  methods,  per- 
chance even  those  of  a  Low-Church  wife  or  of  a 
Ritualistic  daughter.  Does  vicaress  spell "  vicarious  "  ? 
And  there  are  far  graver  scandals  than  this.  Men 
perfectly  incompetent  through  age  and  illness  must 
linger  on  because,  forsooth,  of  their  families.  Every 
one  pities  them  ;  but,  for  God's  sake,  let  us  pity  them 
out  of  our  own  pockets,  and  not  out  of  God's  tithe. 
Sometimes  it  is  the  clergyman  who  is  really  to  be 
pitied  :  he  would  do  anything  he  could  to  touch  the 
people  ;  but  how  can  he,  seeing  he  has  never  learnt  ? 
A  public  school,  a  university,  does  not  train  a  man  to 
understand  artisans  or  farm-labourers.  Five  per  cent, 
of  his  parishioners,  his  equals,  he  does  understand ; 
fifteen  per  cent.,  those  hungering  after  gentility,  he 
may  guess  at ;  the  eighty  per  cent,  he  is  practically 
hopeless  with.  Then  he  is  bound  to  consider  the 
feelings  of  those  with  whom  he  mixes  most  freely, 
who  support  his  charities,  and  very  likely  with  many 
true  kindnesses  help  himself.  There  is  a  deeper 
meaning  in  St.  James's  scathing  words  than  the 
actual  localities  mentioned. 

And  then  the  terrible  difficulty  of  the  Book  of 
Common  Prayer,  containing  as  it  does  but  one 
popular  service ;  the  administration  of  the  Holy 
Communion,  which  has  been  till  quite  lately  reserved 
for  a  few  of  the  elect,  shorn  of  all  the  assistance 

.    THE   CHURCH  AND    THE  PEOPLE.  35 

which  music  might  have  rendered  to  make  it 
understanded,  with  no  dignity  or  glory  about  the 
rendering  of  it,  frigid  simplicity  according  to  the  mind 
of  the  Church  of  England  falsely  interpreted  ;  Morn- 
ing and  Evening  Prayer,  at  best  services  for  clerics  or 
for  the  really  spiritually  instructed,  full  of  difficulties, 
full  of  perplexities.  Is  it  any  wonder  that  men  pre- 
ferred the  warm  and  loving  and  personal  worship  that 
they  found  in  the  chapel  ?  Is  it  so  long  ago  since 
many  dignified  clergymen  believed  that  the  chapel 
was  really  more  suitable  for  common  people?  And 
if  the  Church  of  England  suited  the  working  man  so 
badly  in  ecclesiastical  matters,  did  her  attitude  on 
social  questions  suit  him  better  ?  You  have  been  told 
how  largely  the  very  roads  and  bridges,  the  art  and 
education  of  England,  were  due  to  the  clergy ;  that 
liberty  in  England  is  due  to  the  undauntedness  of 
bishops  ;  that  the  history  of  the  Church  of  England  is 
"  a  progressive  tale  of  the  upward  march  of  men."  I 
am  constrained  to  believe  this  because  of  the  authority 
of  him  who  said  it.  But  in  all  earnestness  I  pray  you 
ask  yourselves,  are  there  ten  working  men  in  England 
that  believe  it  ?  Perhaps  you  will  answer  back  to  me, 
"  All  this  can  be  reformed/'  A  free  Church  can  re- 
form herself,  a  fettered  Church  never.  And  if  your 
heart  is  aflame  to  defend  the  Church  of  England, 
first,  at  any  rate,  see  that  you  cleanse  her.  And  you 
will  never  do  this  until  you  have  the  courage  not  only 
to  think,  but  to  speak,  the  truth  about  her ;  to  put 
away  from  ourselves  all  tall  talk,  and  in  a  spirit  of  true 
and  real  humility  begin  by  confessing  where  we  fail. 

Let  those  in  authority  put  the  question  to  the  test ; 
let  them  through  Convocation  propose  the  needed 
reforms ;  and  if  our  Establishment  forbids  us  to 
reform,  let  us  burst  our  bonds,  and  set  ourselves  free. 
And  now  I  believe  that  the  missions  in  the  Church 
of  England  are  practically  doing  this  very  thing. 

36  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

They  are  indoctrinating  the  minds  of  the  younger 
clergy  with  the  spirit  of  divine  discontent  with  their 
methods  and  themselves.  Just  as  from  the  slums  of 
Holborn  and  of  London  Docks  the  restoration  of  the 
beauty  of  worship  arose,  which,  attracting  the  multi- 
tude, has  re-enthroned  the  Sacraments  in  the  hearts 
of  understanding  and  intelligent  worshippers,  the  life 
of  poverty  and  degradation,  of  meanness,  of  utter 
want,  which  those  pioneers  in  mission  work  shared 
with  their  people,  and  by  the  sharing  enabled  them 
so  to  understand  their  minds,  their  longings,  their 
desires,  as  to  translate  into  a  language  which  they 
could  understand  the  Catholic  learning  of  Oxford 
schoolmen ;  so  to-day  it  is  the  contact  with  the 
suffering  and  degraded  and  impoverished  that  enables 
men  to  translate  into  actual  amelioration  the  theories 
and  statistics  which  Oxford  and  Cambridge  Christian 
Socialists  have,  at  the  cost  of  so  much  toil,  evolved. 

Splendid  as  the  individual  and  personal  work  is  of 
so  many  of  our  present  missions,  yet  their  actual 
achievements  are  as  nothing  compared  with  their 
power  as  centres  of  education.  They  are  the  leaven 
which  little  by  little  is  leavening  the  whole  lump  of 
the  Church  of  England.  And  if  I  might  venture  to 
suggest,  like  all  true  educational  centres,  they  make 
terrible  demands  on  the  teacher.  If  to  go  down  and 
stay  at  the  Oxford  House  is  merely  a  fashion,  an 
interesting  way  to  spend  a  few  weeks  in  the  year,  or 
if  men  from  the  universities  or  public  schools  for 
change  do  a  little  slumming  as  fashionable  women 
did  ten  years  ago,  the  use  of  missions  will  soon  cease. 
It  is  the  enduring  of  hardness,  it  is  sharing  the  life, 
as  far  as  possible  the  very  food,  the  understanding 
of  the  thoughts,  the  realizing  of  the  difficulties,  the 
carrying  away  out  of  sight  poverty  which  degrades 
men  and  women  made  in  the  image  of  God,  a  dis- 
content with  the  luxury,  the  "needed  comfort"  as 


it  is  called  of  modern  life,  that  will  create  amongst 
the  educated  classes  a  true  enthusiasm  for  the  right- 
ing of  wrongs  that  cry  out  continually  into  the  ears 
of  the  Lord  God  of  Sabaoth — for  which,  if  we  do  not 
repent  of  them,  England's  Church,  at  any  rate, 
because  she  has  not  dared  to  speak  out  the  truth, 
must  expect  her  punishment.  And  for  those  of  you 
who  cannot  from  circumstances  take  part  in  this 
actual  work,  do  not  let  other  burdens  besides  that 
of  personal  suffering  and  labour  fall  on  those  who 
are  doing  this  work  for  you.  It  is  possible,  by 
denying  yourselves — and  surely  this  season  of  Lent 
speaks  of  that — to  remove  in  a  large  measure  one  of 
the  most  wearying  of  these  burdens.  During  the 
ten  years  in  which  I  have  been  privileged  to  conduct 
missions  I  calculate  that  I  have  spent  at  least  eight 
hours  a  week  in  begging.  It  would  be  perfectly 
possible  for  the  congregation  that  hears  me  to-day 
to  relieve  me  of  this.  Let  each  one  of  us  put  it  to 
our  own  conscience,  whether  we  are  doing  our  duty 
towards  Almighty  God  and  our  fellow-Christians  in 
this  respect. 




"  Knowledge  puffeth  up,  but  charity  edifieth." — I  COR.  viii.  I. 

A  POLITICAL  leader,  alluding  to  the  subject  only  by 
way  of  illustration  in  the  course  of  a  philosophical 
treatise,  has  recently  made  use  of  words  minimizing 
the  part  played  by  political  discussion  and  political 
measures  in  the  furtherance  of  the  interests  of  society. 
"  We  perceive,"  he  said,  "  that  they  supply  business 
to  the  practical  politician,  raw  material  to  the  political 
theorist ;  and  we  forget,  amid  the  buzzing  of  debate, 
the  multitude  of  incomparably  more  important  pro- 
cesses by  whose  undesigned  co-operation  alone  the 
life  and  growth  of  the  state  is  rendered  possible." 

Such  language  suggests,  though  it  cannot  be  said 
to  commend,  a  separation,  if  not  a  divorce,  of  social 
progress  from  political  activity.  Social  reformers  on 
their  side  are  inclined  to  protest  that  in  the  strife  of 
political  parties  social  questions  are  neglected.  Plain 
men,  not  committed  to  any  party  allegiance  or  to  the 
advocacy  of  any  special  measures  of  social  reform, 
are  apt,  with  something  of  the  same  feeling,  to  cry, 
"  A  plague  o'  both  your  houses ! "  And  it  must  be 
confessed  that  it  needs  something  of  an  effort  to  view 
political  life  as  what  it  is,  a  branch  of  our  general 
social  life,  subject  to  the  same  social  principles  as  the 
rest,  and  that  means,  for  a  Christian,  to  Christian 

42  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

principles.  To  put  it  baldly,  it  sounds  like  a  fatal 
combination  of  truism  and  paradox  to  say  that  party 
politics  should  be  governed  by  the  principles  of 
Christian  chanty. 

And  yet  a  suggestive  parallel  may  perhaps  be 
drawn  between  the  evils  of  party  strife  in  politics 
and  in  religion.  The  need  for  religious  toleration  is 
often  enforced  by  men  of  the  world.  Is  there  no 
need  for  political  toleration  ?  Religious  people  of 
various  sects  and  parties  are  told  to  dwell  on  their 
points  of  agreement  rather  than  on  their  points  of 
difference.  Do  politicians  never  forget  that  they 
have  a  common  end  in  view  ?  We  are  told  that  we 
waste  our  forces  in  internecine  warfare,  when  we 
might  combine  them  against  the  common  foe.  Both 
parties  in  politics  are  at  least  acczised  of  obstruction, 
and  their  combinations  for  a  common  object  are 
notable  and  fruitful,  but  comparatively  rare.  The 
man  of  the  world,  as  a  spectator  of  religious  divisions, 
expresses  surprise  at  a  disunion  so  inconsistent  with 
the  Christian  profession.  Have  we  no  common 
political  ideal  ?  Might  not  an  observant  foreign 
admirer  of  our  self-governing  constitution  express  a 
little  surprise,  that  so  much  of  our  force  is  spent  on 
preventing  the  machinery  of  self-government  from 
producing  its  normal  and  natural  result.  Theological 
hatred  is  a  byword  ;  but  if  I  were  in  the  company  of 
a  man  who  differed  from  me  both  in  theology  and  in 
politics,  I  think  I  had  rather,  for  the  sake  of  charity, 
that  the  conversation  turned  to  the  subject  of  my 
deepest  religious  beliefs  than  to  even  the  personal 
character  of  my  political  leaders.  Would  you  not 
say  yourself  that  you  had  more  often  offended  the 
political  susceptibilities  of  your  friends  than  the 
religious  prejudices  of  those  to  whom  you  are  most 
opposed  ?  "  The  tongue  is  a  fire,  a  world  of  iniquity." 
Where  is  that  so  true  as  in  politics  ?  Our  political 


intercourse  is  poisoned  by  political  abuse.  It  is  not  our 
political  leaders  who  are  the  most  to  blame.  Leaders 
might  be  named  on  either  side  who  seldom  add  un- 
necessary bitterness  to  necessary  strife.  It  is  we,  the 
rank  and  file,  who  afford  the  best  example  of  the 
party  spirit  which  is  the  exact  antithesis  of  charity — 
the  spirit  which  does  vaunt  itself,  and  is  puffed  up, 
and  does  behave  itself  unseemly,  and  does  seek  its 
own,  and  is  easily  provoked,  and  thinks  all  the  evil 
it  can,  and  does  rejoice  in  iniquity  far  more,  it  must 
be  confessed,  than  it  rejoices  in  the  truth.  Sometimes, 
it  is  true,  our  leaders  play  to  the  gallery  ;  but  we  are 
the  gallery,  and  if  they  are  to  catch  from  us  the 
spirit  in  which  they  are  to  play  their  part,  it  is  from 
those  who  express  their  appreciative  criticism  of  the 
political  drama  by  utterances  that  might  perhaps  be 
less  mischievous  if  they  were  even  more  inarticulate, 
but  whose  worst  mischief  is  in  their  tone — rancous, 
reckless,  sibilant. 

And  if  we  were  challenged  on  the  matter,  I  suppose 
we  should  be  inclined  to  plead  in  self-defence  the 
strength  of  our  political  convictions.  "  Perhaps/'  a 
man  might  say,  "  I  have  no  right  to  dogmatize  as 
to  the  motives  of  such  or  such  a  political  leader,  but 
at  least  I  know  that  the  policy  he  pursues  is  fatal  to 
the  interests  of  the  state  and  of  society."  "  I  know  " 
—that  is  just  where  St.  Paul  strikes  in  with  his  dictum 
to  religious  partisans.  We  know  ?  "  We  know  that 
we  all  have  knowledge.  Knowledge  puffeth  up,  but 
charity  edifieth." 

Observe  what  is  the  line  St.  Paul  takes. 

There  is  a  division  in  the  Church  on  a  very 
arguable  point.  The  heathen  feasted  on  meat  that 
had  been  offered  to  idols.  One  party  among  the 
Christians  said,  "  If  you  eat  the  meat  that  has  been 
offered  to  idols,  you  are  a  sharer  in  the  idolatrous 
worship."  Another  party  said,  "  We  don't  believe  in 

44  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

idols.  An  idol  is  nothing.  The  meat  is  neither  the 
better  nor  the  worse  for  being  offered  before  an  idol. 
To  treat  it  as  though  it  were  is  to  appear  to  give  a 
reality  to  the  idol." 

Now,  St.  Paul  does  not  say,  "  Both  parties  are  partly 
in  the  wrong.  The  truth  lies  between  you.  Don't 
be  one-sided."  He  does  not  say,  "  Your  dispute  is  all 
about  nothing.  The  point  at  issue  is  altogether  un- 
important. There  should  be  no  division  on  the  matter 
at  all."  He  does  not  say,  "  You  are  both  altogether  on 
the  wrong  tack.  Here  is  the  true  way  to  look  at  the 
matter."  He  takes  a  side.  He  starts  by  saying  to 
one  party,  "  On  the  point  at  issue  you  are  altogether 
in  the  right.  An  idol  is  nothing  at  all.  And  meat 
offered  before  an  idol  is  neither  the  better  nor  the 
worse."  And  then — does  he  turn  to  the  other  party 
in  the  dispute  and  say,  "  Why  do  you  disturb  the 
peace  of  the  Church  ?  Why  do  you  set  yourselves 
against  a  principle  so  obviously  true  ? "  Not  a  bit  of 
it.  He  turns  upon  his  own  side  and  says,  "  You  are 
guilty  of  the  evils  of  party  division.  You  are  right  ? 
Certainly  it  is  obvious  enough.  You  know  ?  As  to 
knowing — we  all  feel  like  that.  *  We  know  that  we 
all  have  knowledge.'  You  are  perfectly  convinced 
that  you  are  right  ?  Exactly.  '  Knowledge  puffeth 
up.'  Your  knowledge,  your  strong  conviction,  your 
unerring  and  correct  judgment  on  the  question  of 
principle,  is  of  no  use,  confers  no  practical  benefit 
on  the  society  to  which  you  belong,  unless  it  is  in- 
spired and  used  by  charity.  You  with  your  know- 
ledge have  to  play  your  part  in  the  construction,  in 
the  building  up,  of  a  spiritual  society.  In  this  social 
construction  being  perfectly  right  is  not  the  con- 
structive force.  In  and  by  itself  it  is  of  no  use ;  it 
issues  only  in  your  dwelling  with  complacency  on 
your  own  unerring  wisdom.  There  is  only  one  con- 
structive principle — the  principle  of  love." 


That  is  a  little  vague.  Let  us  follow  the  guidance 
of  St.  Paul's  treatment  of  religious  partisanship  and 
see  what  it  means. 

Does  it  mean,  Don't  let  us  have  any  parties  ? 
Sometimes  you  hear  people  say,  "  If  we  could  only 
do  without  parties  and  all  agree ! "  St.  Paul's  treat- 
ment of  the  matter  does  not  point  in  the  direction 
of  an  ideal  state,  which  would  pass  an  act  of  political 
uniformity,  and  have  thirty-nine  articles  of  political 
belief  and  no  dissenters.  Nor  does  St.  Paul  seem  to 
say,  "  Why  must  you  be  ranged  into  parties  ?  Why 
not  let  each  man  judge  for  himself,  and  take  each 
question  on  its  merits  as  it  comes  ? "  He  lends  no 
support  to  any  such  ideal  of  political  atomism. 

So  far  St.  Paul's  teaching  harmonizes  with  our 
accepted  political  doctrine.  Political  parties  come, 
we  should  say,  from  two  main  causes.  There  are  at 
least  two  sides  to  any  practical  question,  and  what 
Burke  called  the  great  leading  general  principles  in 
government,  to  which  the  consideration  of  any  par- 
ticular question  will  naturally  be  referred,  lead  the 
individual  man  to  approach  the  particular  question 
in  the  first  instance  from  one  side  rather  than  the 
other.  On  the  other  hand,  corporate  action  is  stronger 
than  individual  action,  and  we  are  naturally  led  to 
associate  ourselves  with  those  on  one  side  or  the  other 
with  whom  we  are  bound  to  find  that  we  agree. 
Party  is  a  body  of  men  for  promoting  by  their  joint 
endeavours  the  national  interest  upon  some  particular 
principle  upon  which  they  are  all  agreed.  A  bureau- 
cracy would  eliminate  partisanship  in  politics,  but  it 
would  do  so  at  the  cost  of  a  complete  suppression 
of  that  individual  liberty  of  opinion  with  which  party 
allegiance  is  supposed  to  interfere.  And  individual 
self-interest,  now  educated  and  disciplined  by  party 
allegiance,  that  is,  by  subordination  to  the  interest 
of  common  principles  of  public  policy,  would  seek 

46  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

the  ends  of  individual  self-interest  alone.  The  exist- 
ence of  parties,  bodies  of  divergent  opinion,  we  need 
not  deplore  in  politics  any  more  than  St.  Paul  did 
in  religion.  They  are  to  be  used  for  the  attainment 
and  realization  of  an  adequate  political  ideal ;  only 
charity  is  the  force  to  use  them. 

Nor,  again,  does  St.  Paul's  charity  say  to  us,  "  There 
must  be  parties,  it  is  true,  but  keep  clear  of  them. 
See  the  good  on  both  sides,  but  don't  belong  to 
either."  Rather  he  seems  to  say,  "  Choose  your  side 
on  a  clear  ground  of  principle,  and  declare  yourself. 
Only,"  he  adds,  "  remember  it  is  not  the  clear  grasp 
of  principle  that  does  the  work  of  life.  To  begin  with, 
you  must  be  a  partisan ;  but  you  must  be  more. 
'Charity  edifieth.'  Charity  is  the  practically  con- 
structive principle." 

There  are  two  ways  of  picturing  the  aim,  the  ideal 
result,  of  party  conflict.  According  to  one  ideal,  what 
each  party  would  aim  at  would  be  gradually  to 
permeate  the  other — to  pervade  it,  to  include  and 
comprehend  it.  Where  political  discussion  is  most 
fruitful,  this  is,  in  fact,  the  kind  of  result  that  comes 
about.  According  to  the  other  ideal,  each  party 
should  aim  at  neutralizing  the  efforts  of  the  other, 
preventing  them  from  accomplishing  their  ends. 
Religious  divisions  are  sometimes  said  to  neutralize 
in  this  way  the  efforts  of  religious  activity,  and  it 
must  be  confessed  that  to  this  ideal  political  life 
seems  sometimes  to  approximate.  Charity  in  this 
sense  is  no  more  than  a  sympathetic  endeavour  to 
understand  the  mind  of  your  opponent,  and,  while 
the  opposition  between  you  remains,  to  give  effect  to 
all  that  you  can  appreciate  as  practicable  and  true 
in  his  ideal.  A  very  commonplace  form  of  chanty, 
no  doubt,  but  a  virtue  not  only  of  incalculable  prac- 
tical value,  but  of  incalculable  moral  worth  in  the 
eyes  of  those  who  believe  that  God's  work  can  only 
be  done  in  God's  way. 


But  charity  "  edifieth,"  is  a  constructive  power,  not 
only  as  the  inspiration  of  practical  effective  work,  but 
as  the  influence  which  forwards  the  interests  of  the 
truth.  We  look  back  with  horror  and  wonder  to  the 
days  when  the  principle  of  persecuting  your  religious 
opponents  was  recognized  by  the  professors  of  nearly 
all  religious  creeds.  Sometimes  one  is  inclined  to 
doubt  whether  the  evil  spirit  of  persecution,  exorcised 
from  the  soul  of  the  religious  enthusiast,  has  not  found 
for  itself  a  home  swept  and  garnished  in  the  mind 
of  the  political  partisan  ;  whether  he  does  not  need  to 
be  reminded  that  you  can't  compel  political  orthodoxy, 
or  suppress  the  element  of  truth  which  must  surely 
lie  concealed  in  the  worst  heresies  of  your  political 
opponents.  In  politics  no  less  than  in  religion,  truth 
is  the  possession  not  of  the  individual  but  of  the 
society,  and  of  the  individual  only  as  a  member  of 
the  society.  If  you  recklessly  disregard  your  neigh- 
bour's conviction,  you  not  only  fail  to  forward  the 
interests  of  the  conviction  you  profess  ;  you  insensibly 
dwarf  your  own  mind  and  contract  your  own  intel- 
lectual sympathies.  The  enlightened  Corinthian  who 
shared  St.  Paul's  freedom  from  superstition  as  to 
meat  offered  to  idols  had  an  alternative  of  this  kind 
before  him.  His  opponent  was  rightly  and  con- 
scientiously anxious  to  be  free  from  any  complicity 
with  idolatrous  worship.  This  loyal  devotion  was 
theoretically  approved  by  the  opposite  party.  But 
this  theoretical  approval  might  die  down  into  a  very 
shadowy  kind  of  belief,  if  he  declined  to  give  prac- 
tical effect  to  the  sympathy  he  professed  to  feel ;  or 
it  might  be  deepened  into  a  strong  practical  con- 
viction, influential  in  other  spheres  of  Christian  life— 
as,  for  instance,  in  inspiring  a  loyal  adherence  to  that 
moral  ideal  of  the  gospel  which  made  the  Christian 
separate  himself  from  the  vices  of  the  Gentile  world, 
and  saved  him  from  being  "  unequally  yoked  together 

48  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

with  unbelievers."  If  we  look  back  in  political  history, 
we  may  be  able  to  say  at  any  time  since  the  Petitioners 
and  Abhorrers  of  Charles  II.'s  time  first  gained  the 
nicknames  of  Whig  and  Tory,  that  at  such  and  such 
a  juncture  our  sympathies  would  go  with  this  party 
or  with  that.  But  we  should  generally  be  disposed 
to  allow  the  truths  for  which  I  plead — that  the  party 
with  which  we  should  not  sympathize  had  some 
truth  to  maintain,  some  danger  to  avert ;  that  where 
from  any  cause  the  results  of  mutual  sympathy  and 
mutual  appreciation  were  realized,  there  more  good 
was  done,  less  evil  left  to  be  undone ;  and  that 
where  any  party  behaved  as  if  the  differences  of 
party  were  as  the  differences  of  light  from  darkness, 
justifying  a  kind  of  proscription  of  political  principles, 
there  some  truth  suppressed  revenged  itself  with  all 
the  greater  force  on  those  who  had  presumed  to 
pose  as  the  masters,  not  the  servants,  of  the  truth. 
Take  your  side.  Maintain  its  principles.  Uphold 
your  political  ideal  as  you  see  it.  But  remember 
that  you  do  not  see  all,  and  that  your  political 
ideal,  as  it  really  is,  as  you  would  see  it  now  if  your 
vision  were  wide  enough,  is  not  likely  to  be  realized 
solely  by  the  efforts  of  that  section  of  the  population 
who  support  your  own  party,  and  without  any  con- 
tributory share  on  the  part  of  that  nearly  equal 
section  of  the  population  who  are  politically  your 

But,  above  all,  charity  "  edifieth,"  charity  is  a  con- 
structive force  in  politics  in  the  sense  that  the  spirit 
of  charity,  as  the  spirit  of  practical  sympathy  and 
appreciation  toward  your  opponents,  and  as  the  spirit 
of  genuine  political  toleration  towards  your  oppo- 
nents' views,  helps  to  build  up  in  the  mind  and  heart 
of  the  people  whom  politicians  serve,  the  one  com- 
manding political  ideal  of  a  social  life  governed 
throughout  by  the  principle  of  mutual  help.  Such 


an  ideal  may  shadow  itself  out  to  us  in  very  different 
shapes  according  to  our  political  attachments.  Such 
an  ideal  may  be  as  distant  from  the  realities  of 
political  life  as  the  ideal  of  your  own  individual  con- 
science is  from  the  realities  of  your  own  individual 
conduct.  But  in  the  social  as  in  the  individual 
conscience  the  saving  fact  is  that  the  ideal  is  there. 
The  common  end  is  paramount.  And  if  we  can 
agree  on  no  common  formula  for  describing  it,  if  we 
can  agree  as  to  scarcely  an  outline  here  and  there  in 
the  delineation  of  our  hope,  it  is  no  mere  empty  ideal, 
if  it  dictates  the  method  and  the  means  of  political 
action,  if  it  governs  the  otherwise  ungoverned  tongue, 
if  it  gives  chivalry  and  courtesy  to  the  combatants, 
and  to  the  victor  that  generosity  which  saves  the  van- 
quished from  humiliation,  if  through  the  spirit  thus 
diffused  it  makes  victor  and  vanquished  feel  them- 
selves to  be  after  all  and  above  all  fellow-workers 
with  one  another,  fellow-workers  with  God. 



Rector  of  St.  Mary's,  Bryanston  Square. 

IF  this  were  not  one  of  a  special  course  of  addresses 
on  social  subjects,  there  would  be  two  kinds  of 
Christian  patriotism  which  one  would  ask  you  to 
think  of  to-day.  The  first  of  these  is  the  duty  which 
the  devoted  Christian  adherent  owes  to  his  creed, 
the  second  is  the  obligation  resting  upon  all  followers 
of  Jesus  Christ  to  take  a  keen  interest  in  the  general 
well-being  of  the  land  of  their  birth  and  early  train- 
ing. I  only  refer  to  the  first  of  these  for  the  purpose 
of  reminding  you  of  its  importance;  but  I  believe 
that,  in  view  of  the  objects  of  these  sermons,  it  is 
to  the  second  I  should  direct  your  attention  this 

What  is  the  view  of  the  faith  of  Jesus  as  to  the 
duty  of  a  patriot?  Are  we  encouraged  by  our 
Master  to  have  a  special  love  for,  and  to  be  prepared 
to  suffer  in  the  cause  of,  our  country?  The  reply 
would  be  a  determined  affirmative  if  we  had  only  the 
pages  of  the  Old  Testament  to  go  to  for  guidance. 
It  is  evident  that  the  Jewish  people  were  under  the 
particular  care  of  the  Almighty,  and  that  of  them 
He  expected  a  peculiar  service.  It  is,  of  course,  not 
possible  for  us  to  get  out  of  the  realm  of  human 
argument,  but  with  this  reservation  one  may  say  that 


God  looked  upon  the  land  of  Israel  as  the  source 
whence  all  good  was  to  flow  throughout  the  world. 
It  was  to  Israel  that  special  revelations  were  given  ; 
the  experiences  undergone  by  the  chosen  race  had 
all  of  them  for  intention  the  training  of  the  people 
for  their  high  responsibilities  ;  out  of  Israel  was  to 
come  the  One  Who  was  to  give  to  the  whole  world 
a  new  idea  of  life.  If  even  to-day  we  find  the  Jew 
to  be  one  who  is  distinct  from  all  men,  mainly  on 
account  of  his  own  desire  for  isolation,  because  of  his 
belief  in  the  peculiar  privileges  of  his  own  land  and 
his  own  race ;  if,  in  fact,  he  is  in  some  respects  the 
most  patriotic  of  men,  it  is  not  to  be  wondered  at 
when  we  remember  the  emphatic  utterances  of  law- 
giver and  prophet  of  old  time.  Turning  next  to  the 
life  of  Jesus  Christ,  we  notice  an  equal  devotion  to 
His  land  and  to  His  countrymen,  tinged  though  it 
be  with  signs  of  His  disappointment  at  the  failure  of 
the  Jew  to  accomplish  the  purpose  of  the  Father. 
Is  it  not  a  Patriot  of  Whom  we  read  that  "  when  He 
was  come  near,  He  beheld  the  city,  and  wept  over 
it,  saying,  If  thou  hadst  known,  even  thou,  at  least 
in  this  thy  day,  the  things  which  belong  unto  thy 
peace !  but  now  they  are  hid  from  thine  eyes  "  ? 1  Is 
there  not  deep  love  of  country  in  the  cry,  "  O  Jeru- 
salem, Jerusalem,  thou  that  killest  the  prophets,  and 
stonest  them  which  are  sent  unto  thee,  how  often 
would  I  have  gathered  thy  children  together,  even 
as  a  hen  gathereth  her  chickens  under  her  wings,  and 
ye  would  not "  ?  2  It  is  a  disappointed  Patriot  Who, 
when  He  finds  a  stranger  ready  to  recognize  in  the 
Man  of  sorrows  the  Conqueror  of  disease  and  death, 
exclaims,  "  I  have  not  found  so  great  faith,  no,  not  in 
Israel"*  In  all  the  labour  of  Jesus  Christ  there 
seems  to  be  a  yearning  desire  that  the  Jewish  people 
should  be  His  fellow-workers,  and  it  is  only  when 

1  Luke  xix.  41.  2  Matt,  xxiii.  37.  3  Matt.  viii.  10. 

52  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

He  finds  them  determinedly  opposed  to  Him  that 
He  goes  to  the  Gentiles.  It  is  hardly  too  much  to 
say  that  we  have  evidence  of  the  longing  of  the 
Founder  of  our  faith  that  those  of  His  own  nation 
should  be  the  missioners  to  the  outside  world.  Few 
sharper  pangs  can  have  been  felt  by  our  Master  than 
that  one,  to  which  the  prophet  had  beforehand 
testified  as  one  of  the  sufferings  of  the  Messiah  : 
"  We  hid  as  it  were  our  faces  from  Him  ;  He  was 
despised,  and  we  esteemed  Him  not ;  "  l  and  to  which 
reference  is  made  by  St.  John  in  the  first  chapter  of 
his  Gospel,  "  He  came  unto  His  own,  and  His  own 
received  Him  not." 

Admitting,  then,  that  by  word  and  act  our  Lord 
encourages  the  love  of  the  native  land,  let  us  try  to 
realize  the  meaning  of  the  word  "  patriot."  In  order 
satisfactorily  to  do  this  we  must  begin  by  getting  a 
clear  notion  as  to  what  constitutes  a  nation.  It  is 
not  a  collection  of  people  living  in  the  same  country, 
whose  only  uniting  link  is  force,  though  that  force 
may  be  exercised  over  all  by  one  supreme  ruler. 
We  can  define  a  nation  as  the  abode  of  people  held 
together  by  mutual  consent  in  a  social  confederacy, 
which  is  based  upon  the  general  good  and  common 

"What  constitutes  a  State? 
Not  high-raised  battlements  or  labour'd  mound, 

Thick  wall  or  moated  gate ; 
Not  cities  proud  with  spires  and  turrets  crown'd ; 

Not  bays  and  broad-arm'd  ports. 
Where,  laughing  at  the  storm,  rich  navies  ride  ; 

Not  starr'd  and  spangled  courts, 
Where  low-brow'd  baseness  wafts  perfume  to  pride. 

No  :  men,  high-minded  men, 
With  powers  as  far  above  dull  brutes  endued 

In  forest,  brake,  or  den, 
As  beasts  excel  cold  rocks  and  brambles  rude  ; 

Men  who  their  duties  know, 

1  Isa.  liii.  '?. 


But  know  their  rights,  and  knowing,  dare  maintain  ; 

Prevent  the  long-aim'd  blow, 
And  crush  the  tyrant,  while  they  rend  the  chain  ; — 

These  constitute  a  State." l 

Each  individual  has  the  duty  placed  upon  him  of 
doing  his  part,  suffering  his  share  for  the  promotion 
of  the  best  benefit  of  the  general  number.  In  so 
far  as  he  fails  in  this,  so  far  does  he  fall  short  of 
being  a  true  patriot ;  the  greater  his  self-sacrifice, 
the  more  worthy  he  is  of  being  numbered  amongst 
the  lovers  of  his  native  land.  The  patriot  is  one  to 
whom  sahis  reipublicce  is  indeed  suprema  lex.  We 
have  in  Christ  an  example  of  what  may  be  the  fate 
of  one  prepared  to  surrender  all  for  his  country ;  we 
have  also  in  Christ  a  proof  of  how  much  blessing 
may  come  to  the  general  mass  by  individual  self- 
sacrifice.  God  has  implanted  in  our  hearts  a  love  of 
our  fatherland,  a  love  often  not  realized  until  absence 
from  home  has  made  us  long  for  our  return.  It  is 
when  away  from  England  that  we  feel  most  strongly 
the  meaning  of  such  lines  as  those  of  Clough — 

"Dear  home  in  England,  safe  and  fast, 
If  but  in  thee  my  lot  lie  cast, 
The  past  shall  seem  a  nothing  past 
To  thee,  dear  home,  if  won  at  last, 
Dear  home  in  England,  won  at  last." 

If  it  be  true  that  in  each  of  us  there  is  a  natural 
love  of  our  country,  if  this  be  encouraged  by  the 
word  and  example  of  Jesus  Christ,  it  is  strange  to 
notice  the  indifferentism  of  the  many  to  the  general 
good,  and  also  the  narrowness  of  some  as  to  what 
constitutes  patriotism.  Very  few  people,  compara- 
tively, allow  their  hearts  to  be  moved  by  matters 
outside  their  own  immediate  circle.  They  circum- 
scribe what  they  consider  their  interests,  so  as  only 
to  include  persons  and  things  which  they  must 

1  Sir  William  Jones. 

54  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

consider  if  they  are  not  themselves  to  be  sufferers. 
Their  business,    their   family,   these   make   up  their 
life's  care.     To  them  the  cry  of  the  old  heathen,  "  I 
have  not  begotten  thee,  but  for  thy  country's  good," 
would  appear   meaningless.     They  consider   that  if 
they  keep  their  own  doorstep  clean,  every  one  else 
must  do  the  same.     The  demands  of  country  they 
hold  to  be  satisfied  if  they  pay  their  rates  and  taxes, 
and  avoid  breaches  of  the  laws  of  their  land.     Such 
an  attitude  would  be  inexcusable  in  one  who  had 
never   heard   of  Christ,  and  whose   only  notion   of 
nationality  was    founded    on    earthly   ideas ;    it    is 
doubly  to  be  condemned  in  one  who  calls  himself  by 
the  name  of  Him  Whose  life  was  given  up  for  the 
purpose  of  making  all  mankind  members  of  a  great 
self-sacrificing  brotherhood.     One   cause  of  this   in- 
differentism  may  be  the  objection  often  taken  to  the 
religious  teachers  of  a  land  showing  any  care   for 
the  polity  of  the  nation.     It  is  as  important  that  the 
pulpits  of  England  should  be  used  for  the  purpose 
of  stirring  the  sluggish  citizenship  of  the  people  as 
for  moving  to   any  other  form  of  active  service  of 
Christ.     To  omit  the  consideration  of  how  it  was  for 
His  country's  good  that  Christ  gave  Himself  up,  is 
to  neglect  a  valuable  motive  power  for  driving  the 
wheels  of  civic  life.     It  is  curious  to  notice  that  the 
Jews  crucified  Jesus  because  He  did  not  answer  to 
their  conception  of  a  patriot.     They  looked  for  one 
who  should  head  an  army  of  deliverance  from  Roman 
government ;  to  them  there  was  no  beauty  in  a  Man 
Who  impressed  upon  His  hearers  the   faithful  per- 
formance of  the  duties  incumbent  upon  the  members 
of  any  organized  society.    The  teacher  of  the  religion 
of  Christ  must  to-day  remind  people  that  whilst  their 
personal    conduct    should    be    moulded    upon    the 
teaching  and  example  of  Jesus,  they  must  get  out- 
side their  own  little  circle  of  interests,  and  must  so 


care  for  the  well  governing  of  their  land  that  the 
influence  of  Christianity  may  be  a  leaven  working 
in  every  department  of  national  life.  There  is  no 
greater  danger  than  indifferentism.  In  1870  many  of 
the  quieter  and  less  self-seeking  inhabitants  of  France 
had  given  up  the  politics  of  their  country  in  despair. 
They  looked  out  upon  the  land,  and  believing  it  to 
be  given  over  to  luxury  and  the  consequent  evils, 
tried,  by  abstaining  from  part  or  lot  in  the  matter, 
to  wash  their  hands  of  the  whole  business.  The 
result  is  a  matter  of  history.  Those  who  saw  some- 
thing of  the  great  war  between  Germany  and  France, 
will  acknowledge  that  the  main  factor  in  the  over- 
throw of  the  latter  country  was  the  fact  that  the 
soldiers  were  led  in  many  instances  by  men  whose 
patriotism  had  been  sapped  out  of  them  by  years  of 
self-indulgence.  The  neglect  of  their  duty  by  many 
of  the  better  people  left  the  management  of  affairs  in 
the  hands  of  the  less  worthy.  Government  became 
a  chaos,  and  the  battle-field  a  shambles. 

One  word  as  to  the  narrowness  of  view  as  to  what 
constitutes  patriotism  which  is  taken  by  some  of  the 
more  earnest  people.  It  is  a  fact  which  can  hardly 
be  questioned,  that  with  some,  care  for  the  native 
land  is  only  active  when  there  is  some  question 
pending  with  another  country.  The  man  who  would 
readily  sacrifice  all  for  England  in  the  time  of  war, 
will  often  regard  with  indifference  internal  dangers 
which  threaten  the  well-being  of  the  state.  There 
are  those  who  will  consider  little  the  justice  of  their 
country's  cause  when  any  dispute  arises  with  another 
nation.  The  physical  force  which  can  be  brought 
into  action  is  with  them  the  main  consideration. 
There  is  to  them  excellent  morality  in  the  saying 
sometimes  quoted,  "My  country  at  all  times,  my 
country  with  a  just  cause  if  possible,  but  my  country, 
right  or  wrong'''  But  there  is  no  true  foreign  policy 

56  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

for  any  state  which  has  not  at  its  back  the  power  of 
Christ,  and  which  cannot  appeal  to  something  higher 
than  the  argument  of  force.  It  is,  however,  neces- 
sary to  realize  that  to  manage  our  land  so  as  to 
make  her  an  example  in  all  that  tends  to  civic 
righteousness  is  the  surest  way  to  render  her 
influential  beyond  her  borders  ;  that  to  prove  her  the 
best  governed,  the  most  united  of  countries,  is  the 
truest  way  of  exhibiting  to  others  her  strength. 
This  widening  of  the  idea  of  what  is  meant  by 
patriotism  is  not  the  least  of  the  objects  which 
should  be  forwarded  by  every  man  who  loves  the 
land  whence  he  "derived  his  birth  and  infant 

It  is  well  for  us  sometimes  to  bear  this  matter  in 
view  even  in  regard  to  directly  religious  work.  Here 
in  England  we  are  very  active  in  the  development 
of  foreign  mission  work.  Do  we  not,  however,  some- 
times overlook  the  fact  that  the  truest  way  by  which 
to  spread  Jesus  Christ  in  other  lands,  is  by  showing 
the  influence  which  He  has  upon  us  at  home  ?  If 
every  emigrant  ship  which  sailed  to  distant  ports, 
every  regiment  of  soldiers  which  was  quartered  on 
the  borders  of  semi-civilized  districts,  every  band  of 
explorers  which  penetrated  the  recesses  of  savage 
regions,  carried  the  grace  of  God  in  their  hearts,  and 
showed  an  example  of  wholesome,  Christian  living, 
each  of  these  would  be  a  more  potent  evangelizing 
force  than  the  labour  of  the  missionary,  and  would 
certainly  be  also  a  most  wonderful  help  to  that 
devoted  worker  in  his  not  too  encouraging  task. 

If  this  would  be  the  case  in  directly  religious  effort, 
how  wonderfully  it  would  affect  all  questions  of  social 
reformation  !  If  every  one  felt  that  it  was  incumbent 
upon  him  as  a  Christian  to  regard  all  in  his  land  as 
brothers  for  whom  it  would  be  a  pleasure  to  suffer  ; 
if  we  all  understood  that  for  the  true  patriot  every 


social  question  should  be  a  matter  of  keen  interest, 
what  a  fresh  life  would  be  breathed  into  the  political 
atmosphere   of   the   land !     What   a  different   effect 
would  be  produced  upon  some  of  us   by  the  head- 
line in   a  paper,   "  Death  through  Starvation " !     It 
would  not  matter  to  us  then  whether  we  could  trace 
to    some   weakness   of    the   one   dead,   the   gradual 
sinking  into  poverty.     To  us  the  one  thing  present 
would  be  the  feeling  that   shame  should  cover  the 
face  of  a  true  patriot  at  the  loss  by  such  means  of  a 
brother,   one  who   with   us   could   call   England   his 
country.     Think  of  some   of  the   things   which   we 
have  to  confess  to  be  blots  on  our  land,  and  which 
should  stop  our  boasting  as  we  show  the  benighted 
foreigner  our   signs  of  wealth.     In  1894,  twenty-six 
per  cent,  of  the  deaths  in  London  occurred  in  public 
institutions.      How   far   was   this   due   to   the   over- 
crowding of  people  in  unhealthy  dwellings,  causing 
an  early  passing  to  the  hospital  ?     Was  any  of  this 
awful  percentage  the  result  of  the  pressure  of  poverty, 
which  sends  one  to  the  workhouse,  another   to   the 
asylum,  a  third,  by  its  goading  to  crime,  to  the  gaol  ? 
Think,  again,  of  the  case  of  the  children.     Of  the 
little  ones  born  into  this  world,  one  in  every  five  dies 
in  many  parishes  before  the  close  of  one  year  of  life. 
Three  cases   of  suffocation   of  infants   during  sleep 
were  recorded  in  one  week  in  a  large  London  parish. 
Look  at  the  undersized   men   and  women   in  some 
parts  of  our  metropolis.     They  speak  to  us  of  ill-fed 
and  ill-cared-for  childhood.     Does  it  not  seem  as  if 
the   sixth  commandment   were   still   read   by  some 
people — 

"  Thou  shalt  not  kill,  but  need'st  not  strive 
Officiously  to  keep  alive  "  ? 

Think,  again,  of  the  promotion  of  happiness  in  the 
land.  There  are  few  more  pathetic  sights  than  one 
which  is  to  be  seen  in  many  a  by-street  and  court 

58  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

in  London :  an  "  organ-grinder "  playing  away,  sur- 
rounded by  a  number  of  badly  clothed  children, 
dancing  and  enjoying  themselves  after  their  manner. 
It  is  all  they  can  have,  and  they  make  the  most  of 
it.  God  gives  them  the  power  of  being  easily  made 
happy ;  but  how  little  man  does  in  the  matter !  Some 
people  require  six  months  out  of  London — at  the  sea- 
side now,  on  the  Continent  next,  at  a  country  house 
afterwards.  It  is  only  because  they  do  not  think  y 
because  they  are  not  in  the  highest  sense  actively 
patriotic,  that  they  do  not  see  to  it  that  in  some 
modified  way  their  happiness  is  shared  by  those 
bound  to  them  by  the  strong  tie  of  national  brother- 
hood. The  poor  of  London  are  being  driven  away 
from  the  neighbourhoods  where  they  work.  They 
are  now  obliged  to  live  either  terribly  overcrowded 
in  particular  districts,  or  else  they  must  find  a  shelter 
in  some  cheap  suburb.  It  would  not  be  all  disadvan- 
tageous that  this  disturbance  should  take  place,  if 
the  State  took  care  that  cheap  and  rapid  communica- 
tion should  be  ensured  between  the  dwelling  and  the 
workshop,  if  the  children  had  good  air  to  breathe, 
and  if  the  new  home  was  one  provided  with  reason- 
able sanitary  appliances.  It  rests  as  a  responsibility 
upon  those  for  whom  the  poor  have  to  toil,  to  see 
that  these  matters  are  not  neglected. 

The  patriot  is  one  who  will  see  to  it  that  the 
education  of  the  children  of  the  land  is  what  Milton 
calls  "  a  complete  and  generous  education,  fitting  a 
man  to  perform  justly,  skilfully,  and  magnanimously, 
all  the  offices  both  public  and  private,  of  peace  and 
war."  How  seldom  is  the  responsibility  of  citizenship 
taught  to  the  young  of  any  station  in  life !  It  cer- 
tainly is  a  fact  that  there  was  greater  emphasis  laid 
upon  this  part  of  life's  duty  by  the  old  Greek  philo- 
sophers than  by  many  present-day  teachers.  All 
instruction  under  a  truly  patriotic  system  is  bound  to 


have  for  its  object  the  provision  for  every  child  of  a 
fair  opportunity  to  become  the  best  possible  outcome 
of  the  gifts  bestowed  upon  him  or  her  by  Almighty 
God.  Where  the  individuality  of  one  of  our  citizens 
has  not  fair  play  afforded  it,  the  State  is  probably  the 
poorer,  and  we  have  failed  in  the  highest  patriotism. 

The  patriot  is  one  who  will  not  primarily  live  for 
his  own  advantage.  His  desire  will  not  be  to  gain 
ease  for  himself,  but  to  secure  happiness  for  his  fellows. 
The  man  who  overreaches  in  competition,  who  succeeds 
by  cunning,  may  have  what  Bacon  calls  "  crooked 
wisdom ; "  but  he  will  leave  his  country  not  the  better, 
but  the  worse,  for  his  having  lived.  Such  men,  indeed, 
merit  to  be  "  unwept,  unhonoured,  and  unsung."  They 
are  festering  sores,  destructive  of  the  true  health  of 
any  state.  All  that  makes  men  to  be  estranged  the 
one  from  the  other,  that  breeds  suspicion,  that  causes 
forgetfulness  of  national  brotherhood,  is  hurtful  to  the 
needs  of  the  general  number. 

The  patriot,  again,  is  one  who  will  be  specially  care- 
ful of  the  interests  of  those  who  perform  for  the  State 
those  duties  which  strictly  belong  to  each  one  of  us. 
The  soldier,  the  sailor,  are  prominent  instances  of  the 
class  to  which  this  applies,  but  there  is  no  one  who  is 
doing  his  work  honestly  and  well,  who  is  not  in  some 
sense  benefiting  the  whole  land,  and  who  is  not  a 
vicarious  labourer.  We  should,  then,  each  one  of  us, 
make  a  determined  effort  to  lighten  life's  load  the  one 
for  the  other.  We  have  no  business  to  put  unnecessary 
temptation  in  the  way  of  those  who  work  for  us.  The 
provision  of  innumerable  drinking-saloons,  the  foster- 
ing of  every  kind  of  opportunity  for  gambling,  these 
are  matters  which  call  for  State  action.  The  latter  of 
these  is,  in  the  opinion  of  many,  almost  the  most 
serious  danger  menacing  our  land.  Some  doubt,  and 
that  not  without  evidence  of  the  truth  of  their  view, 
whether  drunkenness  is  as  great  a  curse,  to  the  young 

60  A    LENT  /A    LONDON. 

especially,  as  gambling.  Would  that  we  could  pro- 
vide some  counteracting  influence  and  interest  for 
those  likely  to  come  under  its  baneful  power!  In 
all  these  directions  true  patriotism  demands  that 
active  interest  shall  be  taken  by  the  State,  whilst 
undue  interference  with  individual  liberty  is  avoided. 
In  fact,  there  is  no  matter  affecting  the  general  well- 
being  as  to  which  the  lover  of  his  country  will  not  be 
on  fire.  If  any  one  should  fancy  that  the  consequence 
of  this  zeal  for  the  good  of  the  whole  body  would  be 
neglect  of  individual  interests,  our  reply  would  be,  that 
the  only  true  success  in  life  is  that  which  is  achieved 
by  those  who  recognize  their  responsibility  in  regard 
to  others.  Christ  gave  wholesome  teaching  when  He 
insisted  that  "whosoever  will  be  great  among  you, 
let  him  be  your  minister  ;  and  whosoever  will  be  chief 
among  you,  let  him  be  your  servant;"  and  for  all  real 
Christians  there  is  a  strong  incentive  to  such  a  life  in 
the  words,  "  Even  as  the  Son  of  man  came  not  to  be 
ministered  unto,  but  to  minister,  and  to  give  His  life  a 
ransom  for  many."  l  If  we  look  through  the  records 
of  past  ages,  if  we  think  of  those  to  whom  are  raised 
enduring  monuments,  we  find  that  the  most  lasting 
success  is  that  of  self-sacrifice.  True  though  it  be 
that  there  has  not  always  been  "  selection  of  the 
fittest"  for  honourable  mention,  still  the  desire  has 
generally  been  to  commemorate  the  labours  of  those 
who  lived  and  died  servants  of  their  country.  The 
soldier,  the  sailor,  the  statesman,  the  physician,  the 
divine,  the  man  of  science, — these  are  the  ones  whom 
we  delight  to  honour,  when  we  know  that  they 
cared  less  to  advance  themselves  than  to  bless  their 
country.  So,  then,  the  ambitious  man  can  give  nobility 
to  his  natural  desire  to  shine,  by  using  his  powers  in 
the  service  of  his  fellows.  The  greater  our  wealth,  the 
more  influential  our  position,  the  higher  our  gifts,  the 

1  Matt.  xx.  26-28. 


more  it  is  laid  upon  us  to  spend  and  be  spent  for 
others.  It  is  true  that  we  must  not  confine  our  ideas 
of  service  within  the  borders  of  our  own  land ;  there  is 
a  Christian  patriotism  which  remembers  the  brother- 
hood of  man,  and  which  knows  no  boundaries  ;  still 
the  first  care  must  be  in  regard  to  that  country  in 
which  our  lot  is  cast,  and  towards  which  our  hearts 
are  most  strongly  drawn.  If  we  are  members  of  no 
mean  land,  if  we  are  citizens  of  a  leading  nation,  the 
more  we  assist  in  making  it  a  happy  and,  in  the  best 
sense,  holy  State,  the  better  its  influence  upon  the  rest 
of  the  human  family. 

It  must  not  be  forgotten  that  when  lands  have 
fallen  from  their  high  position,  it  has  been  through 
their  degrading  themselves,  and  becoming  hurtful  to 
their  own  interests  and  to  those  of  others.  "  The 
kingdom  of  God  shall  be  taken  from  you,  and  given 
to  a  nation  bringing  forth  the  fruits  thereof."  These 
words  tell  us  the  same  truth  which  experience  teaches 
to  peoples  as  well  as  to  individuals.  Privilege  involves 

Glorious  opportunities  are  before  Englishmen  to- 
day. Our  race  is  now  more  influential  than  ever 
before  in  the  history  of  the  world.  A  new  idea  of 
life  and  duty  has  arisen,  and  there  is  a  place  for 
every  one  to  fill.  Let  us  each,  in  God's  Name,  do  our 
part,  and  then  the  time  is  not  far  distant  when  we 
shall  see  our  land  not  merely  the  richest,  but  the 
brightest,  the  best,  the  freest,  and  consequently  the 
most  Christian,  in  the  world.  So  long  as  there  is 
one  untended  sick-bed,  one  unrelieved  poor  person, 
one  unavenged  injustice,  one  preventible  misery  per- 
mitted, there  is  work  for  us  to  do.  What  better  lot 
for  any  one  of  us  than  to  give  our  lives  in  order  that 
the  existence  of  our  brothers,  the  lot  of  Englishmen, 
may  be  the  brighter  for  our  self-sacrifice  ?  There  was 
gathered  in  the  Temple  of  Theseus  at  Athens,  during 

62  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

the  battle  of  Marathon,  an  anxious  crowd  of  citizens, 
who  eagerly  looked  out  towards  that  plain  on  which 
was  being  decided  the  fate  of  the  nation.  Suddenly 
a  figure  is  seen  approaching,  and  when  he  gets  near 
it  is  noticed  that  he  is  clothed  as  a  warrior,  and  that 
his  steps  are  feeble.  However,  he  climbs  on,  up  the 
hill  on  which  the  temple  stands,  and  reaches  the 
entrance.  Raising  his  hands  aloft,  he  cries  out  to 
the  assembled  multitude,  "  Victory,  O  Athenians !  " 
and  falls  dead  at  their  feet.  The  man's  one  desire 
had  been  the  safety  of  his  land,  and  he  died  bringing 
a  message  of  comfort  and  success  to  his  countrymen. 
Be  it  ours,  in  our  day  and  according  to  our  opportu- 
nities, to  be  messengers  of  brightness  to  our  England  ; 
to  delight  to  suffer  for  the  land  we  love ;  to  assist  in 
winning  to  all  that  is  true  and  godlike  the  men 
and  women  who  are  bound  to  us  by  the  holy  tie 
of  national  brotherhood.  We  may  have  an  uphill 
struggle ;  we  may  be  misunderstood ;  we  may  seem 
to  fail ;  we  may  have  our  trial  before  Pilate ;  we  may 
have  our  Cross.  But  we  know  of  what  glory  Calvary 
is  the  antechamber ;  and  even  if  we  did  not,  so  long 
as  the  world  is  the  better  for  us,  so  long  as  the  truth 
prevails,  who  would  stay  to  consider  what  he  himself 
might  have  to  suffer  ? 

It  is  not  the  object  of  this  address  to  suggest  how 
in  matters  of  detail  this  conception  of  Christian 
patriotism  shall  be  carried  into  effect.  Its  purpose 
will  be  attained  if  it  stimulates  the  desire  of  but  one 
Englishman  to  devote  himself  to  the  service  of  his 
country,  and  to  help  forward  for  humanity  generally 
that  time  when  there  shall  be  in  all  respects  a 
satisfying  of  the  "  armies  of  the  homeless  and  unfed," 

"  And  liberated  man, 

All  difference  with  his  fellow-mortal  closed, 
Shall  be  left  standing  face  to  face  with  God." 




"  If  it  be  possible,  as  much  as  in  you  lieth,  be  at  peace  with  all 
men."— ROM.  xii.  18. 

THERE  is  a  line  in  the  "  Faery  Queen "  in  which 
Spenser  notes  the  unshrinking  resolution  with  which 
loving  pity  faces  darkness,  filth,  and  foul  smells,  in 
setting  itself  to  rescue  a  half-dead  captive  out  of  a 
dungeon.  "Entire  affection,"  he  says,  "hateth  nicer 
hands  " — hands,  that  is,  too  nice  or  fastidious  to  put 
themselves  to  such  work.  Similarly,  we  are  insisting 
in  some  of  these  lectures,  Whole-hearted  Christianity 
hateth  nicer  hands.  There  have  been  persons,  even 
divines  of  high  reputation,  to  whom  war  has  seemed 
too  repulsive  a  fact  for  Christianity  to  have  anything 
to  do  with.  They  have  regarded  wars  between 
nations  as  inevitable ;  they  have  not  been  able  to 
understand  how  the  course  of  the  world  could  dis- 
pense with  them  ;  but  war  is  so  dreadful  to  Christian 
feeling,  that  they  have  concluded  that  the  only  thing 
for  religion  to  do  is  to  pass  by  on  the  other  side. 
To  us  the  spirit  of  Christ  is  bearing  witness  that  our 
faith  must  not  pass  anything  by  on  the  other  side. 
The  worst  and  most  impracticable  things  in  the 
world  are  those  which  belief  in  Christ  is  specially 
called  to  affront  and  to  attack.  We  have  no  right 
to  turn  away  from  blood  and  carnage,  or  to  admit 

64  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

that,  if  war  is  wrong  from  the  Christian  point  of  view, 
it  is  to  be  allowed  to  go  on.  And  though  it  may 
seem  honourable  to  the  gospel  to  affirm  that  its 
morality  is  peremptory  and  will  have  nothing  to  do 
with  compromises,  we  can  see  that  the  method  of 
Christ  in  His  ruling  of  the  world  does  not  disdain 
the  partial  remedying  of  evils,  the  gradual  improve- 
ment of  human  society. 

I  should  be  making  but  a  futile  use  of  the  oppor- 
tunity given  me  to-day,  if  I  were  to  content  myself 
with  repeating  Christian  commonplaces  about  peace 
on  earth  and  good  will  amongst  men.  It  is  the  wish, 
I  am  sure,  of  those  who  have  organized  these  lectures 
that  the  preachers  should  in  all  practical  questions 
come  to  the  point.  It  is  true  that  international 
relations  belong  to  "  high  politics ; "  but  in  a  demo- 
cratic age,  those  who  are  but  units  of  the  population 
cannot  entirely  divest  themselves  of  responsibility, 
and  may  perhaps  exercise  some  influence,  even  with 
regard  to  matters  that  must  be  practically  dealt  with 
by  experts  of  administration.  We  are  warranted  in 
assuming  that  international  peace  is  not  only  a 
Divine  ideal,  commending  itself  to  all  the  good 
aspirations  of  mankind,  but  also  a  proper  object  of 
the  efforts  of  statesmen  and  the  policy  of  govern- 
ments. During  centuries  of  almost  unceasing  war 
between  the  nations,  all  who  have  gone  to  church 
have  been  bidden  to  pray  that  it  may  please  God 
to  give  to  all  nations  unity,  peace,  and  concord.  But 
the  Christian  Church  has  not  in  old  time  done 
much — has  hardly  even  laboured  with  conscious  en- 
deavour— to  prevent  wars  from  occurring.  George 
Fox  and  his  followers  have  made  protests,  with  a 
sincerity  which  they  have  attested  by  voluntary 
sacrifices,  against  the  causing  of  bodily  pain  to  any 
one  either  by  individuals  or  by  nations,  as  an  act 
altogether  forbidden  to  Christians ;  but  the  under- 

PEACE  AND    WAR.  65 

standing  of  Christ's  precepts  in  the  letter  is  mis- 
chievously confusing  to  the  Christian  conscience,  and 
it  is  doubtful  whether  such  repudiations  as  those 
of  the  Society  of  Friends  and  of  Count  Tolstoi 
have  not  done  more  to  discourage  than  to  stimulate 
intelligent  and  general  efforts  to  avoid  war.  In 
our  own  age,  however,  many  causes  have  been  co- 
operating to  awaken  the  conscience  of  Christendom 
on  this  question,  and  to  set  people  thinking  how  peace 
between  nations  may  best  be  preserved.  Our  eyes 
have  been  in  some  degree  opened  to  the  kingdom  of 
heaven  as  a  living  reality,  and  we  have  been  led  to 
see  that  this  spiritual  kingdom  claims  all  the  earth, 
with  its  kings  and  its  nations,  and  all  provinces  of 
human  life,  for  its  own  ;  and  it  is  evident  that  when 
two  nations  are  fighting  with  each  other  they  are 
breaking  the  pax  coelestis,  and  that  one  of  them 
certainly,  if  not  both,  has  been  showing  disloyalty 
to  its  heavenly  Lord.  The  idea  of  the  Catholic 
Church  has  .at  the  same  time  begun  to  shine  with 
more  of  steady  and  attractive  light  before  the  minds 
of  all  Christians  ;  and  the  song  has  a  new  music  to 
our  ears  in  which  the  four  living  creatures  and  the 
four  and  twenty  elders  pay  homage  to  the  Lamb, 
saying,  " Worthy  art  Thou  to  take  the  book" — the 
book  of  destiny — "and  to  open  the  seals  thereof:  for 
Thou  wast  slain,  and  didst  purchase  unto  God  with 
Thy  blood  men  of  every  tribe,  and  tongue,  and  people, 
and  nation,  and  madest  them  to  be  unto  our  God 
a  kingdom  and  priests ;  and  they  reign  upon  the 
earth."  And  then  the  immense  increase  of  inter- 
course and  the  growing  complexity  of  interests 
between  the  different  countries  on  the  face  of  the 
globe  make  war  more  unnatural  and  more  ruinous ; 
whilst  the  development  of  the  machinery  of  destruc- 
tion causes  the  imagination  to  quail  before  the  terrors 
of  the  battle-field  and  the  siege.  So  that  whilst  the 


66  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

childish  doctrine  that  Christians  ought  never  to 
consent  to  go  to  war  at  all  takes  no  hold  of  men's 
minds,  many  earnest  persons  are  much  occupied 
with  anxious  thought  as  to  the  ways  in  which  war 
might  be  superseded,  or  the  chances  of  its  occurring 
be  diminished,  or  its  horrors,  if  it  should  occur,  be 

The  suggestion  that  nations  should  be  persuaded 
to  contract  together  for  a  proportional  reduction  of 
their  armaments  does  not  seem  to  be  entitled  to 
much  serious  consideration.  But  the  movement  in 
favour  of  referring  differences  between  nations,  such 
as  have  so  often  ended  in  war,  to  impartial  arbitra- 
tion, is  undoubtedly  what  we  call  a  practical  one. 
The  method  of  arbitration  has  been  actually  tried 
with  success ;  and  it  is  admitted  by  the  most  un- 
romantic  statesmen  that  there  is  promise  in  it  for 
the  future.  Apart  from  the  particular  cases  in  which 
irritating  and  threatening  differences  have  already 
been  thus  settled,  the  very  fact  of  nations  submitting 
their  claims  to  what  they  hope  will  be  just  judgment, 
and  then  acquiescing  in  any  concessions  which  the 
judgment  imposes  upon  them,  is  likely  to  exercise  a 
very  important  moral  influence.  And  this  submit- 
ting of  differences  to  independent  judgment  is  the 
line  which  the  historic  progress  of  peace  in  the  world 
has  hitherto  taken.  The  savage  way  of  settling 
quarrels  is  to  fight  them  out,  till  the  weaker  is  killed 
or  has  had  enough.  The  interest  of  the  community, 
as  soon  as  a  community  of  the  most  elementary  kind 
has  existed,  has  always  sought  to  restrain  the  free 
indulgence  of  personal  anger,  and  with  that  view  the 
ruling  power  has  undertaken  to  see  any  complainant 
righted  and  to  punish  the  wrong-doer.  The  ruling 
power  forbids  the  members  of  the  community  to 
avenge  themselves  ;  it  pronounces  judgment,  and  en- 
forces its  judgment  upon  all  the  parties  concerned. 

PEACE  AND    WAR.  67 

And  so  peace  is  preserved,  in  a  greater  or  less  degree, 
in  a  tribe  or  a  nation.  Not  only  are  individuals  thus 
kept  from  trying  what  one  can  do  to  injure  another, 
but  combinations  of  persons,  sometimes  embracing 
large  numbers,  bring  questions  of  right  and  wrong 
into  the  courts,  and  submit  to  the  judicial  settlement 
of  them.  It  has  been  easy  to  ask,  Why  should  not 
nations,  which  are  large  combinations  of  persons, 
have  their  differences  similarly  adjusted  ?  And  the 
answer  has  unfortunately  been  equally  obvious. 
Nations  are  not  subject  to  a  ruling  power.  If  Europe 
were  divided  into  a  hundred  small  countries,  it  might 
be  possible  to  establish  a  European  federal  govern- 
ment, with  an  adequate  force  to  maintain  peace 
amongst  the  federated  States.  But,  as  things  now 
are  and  tend  to  be,  we  cannot  even  imagine  a  central 
European  force  that  would  undertake  to  treat — say 
France  and  Germany — as  subjects,  and  to  prevent 
them  from  fighting.  And  we  are  obliged  to  admit 
that  the  internal  peace  of  communities  would  have 
had  a  poor  chance  if  it  had  depended  on  voluntary 
submission  to  arbitration. 

With  regard  to  the  apparent  hesitation  on  the  part 
of  the  United  States  to  act  on  the  judgment  given  by 
the  Court  of  Arbitrators  in  a  recent  controversy,  it 
is  impossible  that  the  American  people  could  be 
guilty  of  such  treason  to  the  cause  of  peace,  and  so 
dishonour  themselves,  as  definitely  to  repudiate  the 
obligation  which  they  have  incurred.  But  the  very 
hesitation  is  greatly  to  be  deplored. 

Whilst,  then,  the  lovers  of  peace  will  do  all  that 
they  can  to  promote  the  international  use  of  arbitra- 
tion in  particular  cases,  and  to  establish  such  a 
custom  of  submitting  disputed  points  to  arbitration 
as  may  have  some  constraining  moral  influence  over 
statesmen  and  people,  it  is  idle  to  hope  for  any 
such  success  in  these  endeavours  as  will  warrant  a 

68  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

great  Power  in  disarming.  When  national  safety 
and  national  honour  are  at  stake,  it  will  not  do  to 
trust  unreservedly  to  the  kindness  and  unselfishness 
of  other  nations.  Arbitration  may  do  mankind  the 
great  service  of  preventing  some  wars,  but  no  sensible 
person  will  persuade  himself  that  it  lies  in  arbitration 
to  abolish  war.  There  are  questions  which  no  Eng- 
lish statesman  would  think  of  referring  to  arbitra- 
tion, unless  he  meant  to  surrender  altogether  his 
country's  independence,  and  to  make  England  the 
vassal  of  some  Power  or  Powers  outside  itself.  Our 
occupation  of  Egypt  is  a  living  example  of  such  a 
question.  Frenchmen,  it  is  said,  will  never  be  heartily 
friendly  to  us  so  long  as  we  retain  our  control  of 
Egypt.  I  am  afraid  there  is  truth  in  this  statement, 
and  it  is  a  serious  one  for  us  to  keep  in  mind.  But 
we  cannot  imagine  any  earthly  judge  or  jury  to  whom 
we  could  be  expected  to  submit  the  simple  question 
whether  we  are  to  retire  from  Egypt  or  not.  It 
would  be  equivalent  to  saying  to  the  court,  "  You 
must  undertake  to  govern  Egypt,  and  the  British 
empire,  and  the  world."  For  there  is  a  second 
question  which  would  require  an  immediate  answer, 
"  What  is  to  happen  in  Egypt,  not  to  speak  of  other 
parts  of  the  world,  if  we  withdraw  ?  " 

But  my  business  in  this  place  is  to  ask  what  our 
Christianity  prescribes  with  regard  to  international 
peace ;  and  the  direct  concern  of  our  faith  in  Christ 
is  not  so  much  with  expedients  as  with  tempers  and 
affections.  And  the  properly  Christian  spirit,  if  it 
responds  to  the  heavenly  voice  which  is  bidding  it 
claim  public  affairs  as  one  sphere  of  its  duty,  cannot 
fail  to  be  a  powerful  influence  in  the  promotion  of 
international  peace. 

Magnanimity  seems  to  be  the  name  that  will  best 
describe  the  temper  proper  to  a  great  Christian 
nation  in  its  dealings  with  other  nations.  A  state 

PEACE  AND    WAR.  69 

differs  from  an  individual,  and  national  duty  is  not 
quite  the  same  as  individual  duty.     But  it  is  a  great 
point  to  recognize  that  there  is  such  a  thing  as  duty 
towards  a  neighbour  nation.     To  the  Christian  eye, 
not   only   are    men   of    all    races   members   of   the 
universal  human  race,  but  the  nations  are  under  one 
heavenly   law,  and   each   one  has  its  place  and   its 
calling   in   the   great  Divine  economy.     As  regards 
sacred  precepts  of  policy,  we  are  at  a  disadvantage 
from  the  fact  that  the  New  Testament  age  was  not 
an   age  of  independent  nations,  but  of  an   empire 
with  subject  provinces  ;  and  every  precept  of  Christ 
and    His  Apostles  possesses  the  reality  and  life   of 
being  meant  for  those  to  whom  it  was  first  addressed. 
The  New   Testament   is   the   book  of  the  Catholic 
Church,  of  redeemed  mankind.     But  the  New  Testa- 
ment is  supplemented  by  the  Old,  which  is  the  book 
of  a  nation.     And  even  in  "the  New  Testament  there 
is  enough  to  make  nations  honourable  and  sacred  to 
those  who  see,  as  we  do,  that  God  is  at  this  time 
constructing  the  world  out   of  them.     I  must  take 
this  for  granted,  and  I  will  ask,  Have  we  in  England, 
we  English  Christians,  acquired  thoroughly  the  habit 
of  honouring  the  nations  with  which  we  stand  side 
by  side  in  the  world  ?     Do  we  always  bear  in  mind 
that  they  are  entitled  to  our  respect,  to  our  good  will, 
to   our  friendly  consideration,  to  a   favourable  con- 
struction of  their  sentiments  ?     Do  we  feel  it  to  be 
wrong,  an  act  to  be  ashamed  of,  a  violation  of  God's 
law,  though    there    may  be   no  human    tribunal   to 
punish  it,  that  one  Power  should  behave  unjustly  or 
offensively  to  another  Power? 

There  are  those  who  persuade  themselves  that 
wars  are  the  wanton  work  of  kings  and  diplomatists, 
and  that  if  we  could  only  get  the  populations  con- 
sulted before  coming  to  blows,  there  would  to  a 
certainty  be  an  end  of  war.  But  most  of  us  do  not 

70  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

so  read  history.  A  population  often  has  more 
passion,  a  hotter  sense  of  outraged  pride  or  interest, 
less  prudence,  than  sovereigns  and  ministers  of  state. 
And  with  us  in  England,  there  is  no  great  danger 
of  the  Government  hurrying  us  into  a  war  which  the 
people  would  judge  to  be  unnecessary  and  unjusti- 
fiable. At  all  events,  a  gracious  and  magnanimous 
feeling  on  the  part  of  the  general  population  towards 
foreign  nations  would  quickly  tell  on  the  policy  of 
our  Foreign  Office :  nay,  why  should  we  not  con- 
gratulate ourselves  on  its  having  told  already  ?  For 
I  do  believe  that  in  the  general  mind  of  England 
there  is  more  of  a  desire  to  act  justly,  considerately, 
peaceably,  towards  all  other  nations,  great  and  small, 
than  is  abroad  put  to  the  credit  of  perfidious  Albion. 
If  we  venture  to  think  fairly  well  of  ourselves  in  this 
respect,  let  us  try  earnestly  to  justify  our  self-esteem. 
By  our  own  habitual  temper  and  way  of  speaking 
we  should  let  our  representatives  know  that  we  wish 
them,  not  to  weaken  our  fighting  force,  not  to  lessen 
our  influence  for  good  in  the  world,  but  to  refrain 
carefully  from  all  that  an  impartial  judge  would 
pronounce  to  be  aggressive,  insolent,  vexatiously 
exacting,  and  to  make  liberal  allowance  for  national 

I  have  admitted  that,  as  regards  Christian  duty, 
we  cannot  transfer  the  principles  of  conduct  straight 
from  the  individual  to  a  nation.  The  Christian  law 
of  personal  duty  is  that  a  man  should  surrender 
himself  absolutely  to  the  disposal  of  the  heavenly 
Father,  so  that  by  him  and  through  him  the  Father's 
will  may  be  done :  not — as  sacrifice  is  sometimes 
perversely  misunderstood — that  he  should  throw 
himself  away,  or  make  himself  less  serviceable  to  the 
Father's  purposes  than  he  might  be ;  but  that  he 
should  offer  himself,  the  best  he  is  and  the  best  he 
can  make  of  himself,  to  the  doing  of  the  Father's 

PEACE  AND    WAR.  71 

will.  And  this  we  may  believe  to  be  also  the  true 
principle  of  a  nation's  conduct.  But  an  individual 
may  easily  be  called,  in  this  sacrifice  of  himself,  to 
give  up  his  life  or  his  property :  for  a  nation,  on  the 
other  hand — while  we  may  refrain  from  laying  down 
that  it  can  never  be  conceivably  a  nation's  duty  to 
give  up  its  life — it  seems  to  be  almost  an  absolute 
duty  to  cherish  and  defend  its  life.  It  is  not  a  selfish 
feeling  in  a  citizen  to  rejoice  in  his  country's  in- 
dependence and  greatness. 

And  such  a  feeling  will  of  itself  dispose  the  wise 
patriot  to  desire  that  his  nation  should  cultivate  an 
unaggressive  and  respectful  policy,  a  policy  of  good 
will  and  consideration,  towards  other  nations.  For 
a  nation  may  take  to  itself  the  encouragement  given 
both  under  the  old  covenant  and  the  new  to  indi- 
viduals :  "  He  that  would  love  life  and  see  good 
days,  let  him  refrain  his  tongue  from  evil,  and  his 
lips  that  they  speak  no  guile :  and  let  him  turn 
away  from  evil  and  do  good  ;  let  him  seek  peace,  and 
pursue  it.  For  the  eyes  of  the  Lord  are  upon  the 
righteous,  and  His  ears  unto  their  supplication  ;  but 
the  face  of  the  Lord  is  upon  them  that  do  evil."  It 
cannot  be  hurtful  to  a  nation  in  the  long  run  that  it 
should  endeavour,  at  the  cost  of  some  self-restraint 
and  of  any  reasonable  concessions,  to  be  on  the  best 
possible  terms  with  its  neighbours.  I  am  far  from 
advocating  a  feeble  external  policy,  but  before  and 
beneath  any  duty  of  going  to  war  and  of  trying  to 
be  victorious  in  war,  the  Christian  must  set,  for  his 
country  as  for  himself,  the  great  ideal  of  peace  and 
good  will  amongst  men.  The  Lord,  Whose  slaves  we 
Christians  are,  is  the  Prince  of  Peace.  If  He  forbade 
us  absolutely  to  strike  with  the  whip  or  with  the 
sword,  to  deal  death  with  rifle  or  artillery,  we  should 
be  bound  to  obey  Him.  When  He  bids  us  fight,  it 
must  be  because  the  true  peace  which  He  loves,  and 

72  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

which  He  came  to  establish,  is  to  be  better  attained 
by  fighting  than  by  submitting.  Inasmuch  as  the 
Son  of  God  is  the  heavenly  Peacemaker,  there  is  a 
blessing  on  all  who  anywhere  make  peace,  and  they 
shall  share  His  name,  and  be  called  sons  of  God. 

But  St.  Paul's  precept  admits  that  the  keeping  of 
peace  does  not  depend  upon  one  party  only.  The 
most  peaceable  of  men  may  be  forced  into  a  con- 
tention, into  an  appeal  to  the  law.  which  may  result 
in  bringing  serious  punishment  upon  his  adversary. 
And  a  nation  may  be  forced  into  war  more  easily, 
according  to  Christian  principles,  than  a  single  person 
into  a  quarrel ;  because  kings  and  ministers  of  state, 
and  all  citizens  in  their  degree,  are  trustees  for  large 
and  high  interests,  which  it  is  not  within  their  right 
to  surrender  as  men  may  surrender  things  which  are 
privately  theirs.  At  present  there  is  no  way  of 
securely  preventing  war.  That  a  great  nation  should 
make  it  known  that  nothing  will  provoke  it  into  war, 
and  should  let  its  high  spirit  run  down  and  its 
weapons  of  attack  and  defence  grow  rusty,  is  un- 
questionably the  way  to  invite  treatment  from  other 
powers  which  no  self-respecting  nation  could  tolerate. 
If  you  could  imagine  England  persuaded  by  blind 
letter-worshipping  Christians  to  disarm  itself,  totally 
or  partially,  that  would  be  the  worst  service  that 
could  be  rendered  to  the  cause  of  peace. 

We  have  to  reckon  upon  war  as  possibly  inevitable. 
I  do  not  enter  into  argument  with  those  who  hold 
that  a  Christian  man  is  not  allowed  in  any  circum- 
stances, in  a  private  or  a  public  cause,  to  lay  a  finger 
of  force  upon  a  fellow-man.  I  believe  that  they 
entirely  misread  the  New  Testament;  but  they  are 
few,  and  almost  silent.  A  far  more  injurious  notion 
is  that  of  those  who  assume  that  war  is  an  unchristian 
sort  of  thing,  but  also  that  it  is  a  necessity  in  such  a 
world  as  this.  If  it  is  necessary  to  go  to  war,  it  is 

PEACE  AND    WAR.  73 

not  unchristian.  Nothing  that  is  necessary  is  for- 
bidden by  Christ.  And  if  we  can  enter  upon  war 
with  a  clear  conscience,  it  is  foolish  to  urge  that  we 
should  disable  ourselves  beforehand  for  the  conflict. 
The  chance  of  having  to  go  to  war  implies  to  a 
rational  mind  our  making  ourselves  ready  for  war. 
What  can  we  think  of  the  good  sense  of  those — and 
there  are  such  persons — who  in  the  same  breath  will 
denounce  armaments  and  demand  that  our  Govern- 
ment should  instantly  protect  Armenians  from  the 
cruelties  of  Turks  and  Kurds  ?  It  is  not  for  me  to 
express  an  opinion  as  to  what  our  armies  and  ships 
of  war  and  defences  should  be,  and  I  do  not  know 
that  there  is  any  slackness  on  the  part  of  our  people 
in  making  such  preparations  as  their  responsible 
advisers  tell  them  are  necessary.  Every  one  can 
understand  how  important  it  is  to  protect  our  trade 
and  guard  our  dense  population  from  being  starved. 
But  it  does  not  appear  to  me  to  be  unsuitable  that 
I  should  appeal  to  our  Christianity  as  not  merely 
permitting  but  enjoining  us  to  keep  ourselves  well 
armed,  and  to  nourish  a  courageous  spirit. 

I  remember  being  present  a  good  many  years  ago 
at  a  meeting  for  religious  discussion,  at  which  Mr. 
Henry  Richard  was  invited  to  plead  the  cause  of 
peace.  Mr.  Richard  was  a  good  man,  who  drew  to 
himself  the  reverent  esteem  of  all  who  knew  him. 
We  listened  to  him  with  sincere  respect  as  he  dwelt 
upon  the  horrors  of  war,  and  made  appalling  calcu- 
lations of  the  money  spent  on  armaments.  And  we 
were  then  constrained  to  ask  him  what  his  counsel 
was  with  regard  to  our  armies  and  fleets.  He  pro- 
tested rather  warmly  that  he  had  never  maintained 
that  we  ought  to  disarm  ourselves  altogether.  What 
then  ?  Did  he  contend  that  we  were  spending  four 
times  as  much,  or  twice  as  much,  on  armaments 
as  we  ought  to  do  ?  But  he  disliked  being  thus 

74  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

questioned,  and  replied  that  he  was  sorry  not  to  meet 
with  more  sympathy  from  his  audience.  No  doubt 
we  ought  not  to  blind  ourselves  to  the  wounds  and 
deaths  and  destruction  of  property  which  war  causes, 
nor  to  the  fact  that  the  millions  which  we  spend  on 
our  army  and  navy  might  be  otherwise  spent  on 
various  good  objects.  But  a  nation  which  spends 
what  it  deems  necessary,  however  immense  the  sum 
may  be,  on  self-preservation,  may  rightly  ask,  "  Is  not 
the  life  more  than  meat,  and  the  body  than  raiment  ? " 
An  accurate  description  of  a  field  of  battle,  of  a  rout, 
of  a  siege,  of  an  army  wasted  by  disease,  may  be 
painful  beyond  what  we  can  bear.  But  it  is  not 
amiss  to  remember  that  there  are  other  human 
sufferings  which  would  not  form  a  pleasant  picture. 
These  soldiers  who  have  been  killed  or  badly 
wounded  were  not  otherwise  going  to  live  for  ever 
in  perfect  health.  How  many  of  them  might  not 
have  suffered  as  much  or  more  before  they  died,  if 
they  had  not  been  victims  of  war  ?  And  the  lives 
of  many  of  them,  if  they  had  been  prolonged,  would 
not  to  a  certainty  have  been  of  great  value.  Human 
life  is  not  all  golden.  We  often  express  without 
misgivings  a  deliberate  wish  that  there  were  not  so 
large  a  quantity  of  it  upon  certain  areas  as  there  is. 
But  if  we  decline  to  go  into  uncomfortable  com- 
parative estimates  of  this  kind,  the  horrors  of  war 
and  its  expensiveness,  honestly  and  sternly  faced, 
may  produce  another  impression  upon  our  minds 
than  that  of  daunting  us. 

If  there  are  any  lessons  characteristic  of  Christianity, 
this  is  one  of  them — that  we  are  to  set  the  things  of 
the  spirit  above  the  things  of  the  flesh.  There  is  no 
amount  of  fleshly  ease  that  can  be  weighed  in  the 
scales  of  Christ  against  even  a  low  spiritual  value. 
And  the  honour  and  consciousness  of  a  nation  are 
spiritual  things.  It  has  often  been  alleged  by  free 

PEACE  AND    WAR.  75 

critics  that  the  morality  of  the  New  Testament  is 
defective  in  not  including  patriotism  amongst  the 
Christian  virtues.  But  Christianity  puts  no  slight 
upon  the  Jewish  patriotism,  that  supreme  virtue  of 
the  Old  Testament,  which  is  a  part  of  our  Christian 
inheritance.  If  you  could  bring  together  under  one 
view  all  the  deaths  and  wounds  that  Englishmen  have 
suffered  and  inflicted  in  war,  and  make  one  colossal 
addition  sum  of  all  the  moneys  spent  on  war  by 
English  governments  from  the  days  of  Alfred  till  now, 
can  we  set  the  pain  and  the  cost  for  a  moment  against 
what  England  has  been  and  is  in  the  realm  of  the 
spirit  to  her  sons  ?  The  truth  on  which  I  am  insisting 
has  been  expressed  in  some  vivid  sentences  by  the 
author  of  "Ecce  Homo."  "War  is  frequently  de- 
nounced as  unchristian,  because  it  involves  circum- 
stances of  horror  :  and  when  the  ardent  champions  of 
some  great  cause  have  declared  that  they  would  per- 
severe although  it  should  be  necessary  to  lay  waste  a 
continent  and  exterminate  a  nation,  the  resolution  is 
stigmatized  as  shocking  and  unchristian.  Shocking 
it  may  be,  but  not  therefore  unchristian  "  (p.  278). 
Whilst  he  condemns  religious  persecutions  as  deplor- 
able mistakes,  carried  on  with  much  evil  passion,  he 
is  yet  bold  to  testify — "the  ostensible  object  of  such 
horrors  was  Christian,  and  the  indignation  which  pro- 
fessedly prompts  them  is  also  Christian,  and  the 
assumption  they  involve,  that  agonies  of  pain  and 
blood  shed  in  rivers  are  less  evils  than  the  soul  spotted 
and  bewildered  with  sin,  is  most  Christian  "  (p.  280). 
I  do  not  see  how  we  can  refuse  our  assent  to  these 
statements  ;  and  in  days  of  softness,  when  an  absurd 
value  is  set  upon  human  life  as  mere  existence,  it 
must  be  well  that  we  should  steep  our  minds  in  such 
convictions.  At  the  same  time,  it  is  a  comfort  to 
know  that  Christian  humanity  has  done  something, 
and  may  probably  do  more,  to  mitigate  the  horrors 

76  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

of  war,  as  well  as  to  make  its  occurrence  less  likely. 
Under  international  rules,  which  it  is  the  interest  of 
all  powers  to  observe,  non-combatants  have  now  a 
degree  of  protection  which  formerly  they  could  not 
claim  ;  and  to  the  fighting  men  war  is  made  by 
various  prescriptions  less  exasperating  than  it  used  to 
be.  Here  is  a  field  on  which  our  Christianity  is  bound 
to  push  its  influence  to  the  furthest  possible  point. 

Some  of  those  who  denounce  war  would  meet  the 
argument  that  there  are  spiritual  values  for  which 
we  must  be  ready  to  suffer  and  inflict  the  pains  in- 
volved in  war,  by  asserting  that  war  necessarily 
degrades  the  contending  nations  by  the  unspiritual 
passions  which  it  stimulates  and  lets  loose.  I  find  it 
alleged,  for  example,  that  "  the  moral  deterioration 
and  the  depraving  of  right  principle  involved  in  war 
are  much  more  serious  than  the  visible  and  immediate 
results  of  this  abysmal  evil."  I  believe  that  actual 
experience  calls  for  some  modification  of  this  judg- 
ment. There  is  a  terrible  war,  producing  hideous 
slaughter,  now  going  on  between  China  and  Japan. 
It  looks  as  if  it  were  an  aggressive  war  on  the  part 
of  Japan.  But  I  feel  little  doubt  that  the  Japanese 
people  are  raised  in  the  moral  scale  rather  than 
lowered  by  this  war ;  that  they  hate  the  Chinese  less 
now  than  they  did  before  the  war  began  ;  that  the 
patriotic  sentiment  inspiring  the  whole  people  to  make 
joyful  sacrifices  for  the  sake  of  the  safety  and  aggran- 
dizement of  their  country  is  on  the  whole  an  elevating 
one.  The  most  shocking  war  of  my  lifetime  was  the 
American  civil  war ;  and  I  do  not  believe  that  any 
American  who  lived  through  the  war  in  either  Northern 
or  Southern  State  would  admit  that  the  general  moral 
tone  of  the  population  was  lowered  by  it.  As  to  the 
moral  effect  of  the  Crimean  war  I  can  speak  with 
more  knowledge.  Some  of  my  hearers  may  think 
that  I  am  making  myself  an  apologist  for  war  ;  but  I 

*  or  THS 

{    \?*HV£B£iT>r 

PEACE  AND    WAR.  77 

am  conscious  of  no  other  desire  than  to  do  justice  to 
the  good  I  have  known.  It  is  impossible  for  those 
who  lived  during  that  war  to  forget  how  deeply  we 
were  all  moved  by  it ;  and  every  emotion  that  it 
stirred,  of  hope,  of  anxiety,  of  awe,  of  grief,  was  a 
nobler  one  than  the  habitual  feelings  of  ordinary  life. 
We  had  no  malignant  hatred  of  the  enemy.  The 
luxurious  class  sent  out  its  men  in  larger  proportion 
than  any  other  class  to  die  and  to  suffer  cruel  hard- 
ships for  their  country.  I  was  then  living  and  work- 
ing in  Whitechapel,  and  I  had  much  to  do  with 
correspondence  between  families  there  and  soldiers  in 
the  Crimea,  and  I  could  not  help  seeing  how  humble 
lives  were  exalted  by  the  demands  and  the  dangers 
of  heroic  service.  I  had  a  friend  who  was  with  our 
army  as  chaplain  in  the  Crimea,  and  who  saw  all  the 
miseries  of  that  terrible  campaign  without  the  stimulus 
of  being  a  combatant  ;  and  after  his  return  he  told 
me  that,  as  he  reflected  on  the  past,  he  was  sure  he 
had  never  lived  in  so  good  a  spiritual  atmosphere  as 
that  of  the  English  army  on  those  blood-stained 
heights.  Do  not  suppose  me  to  say  that  we  should 
do  well  in  going  to  war  for  the  sake  of  the  moral 
advantages  that  we  might  gain  by  it ;  I  have  suffi- 
ciently declared  that  I  count  it  a  sin  to  bring  on  a 
needless  war :  but  I  hold  myself  warranted  in  believ- 
ing that,  if  at  any  time  we  felt  that  as  a  self-respecting 
nation  we  had  no  alternative  but  to  accept  a  challenge 
to  battle,  we  might  expect  a  fine  thrill  to  go  through 
every  section  of  the  population,  waking  up  unselfish 
aspirations,  drawing  us  into  mutual  sympathy  and 
united  effort,  and  teaching  us  to  value  more  worthily 
the  glories  and  blessings  of  our  national  heritage. 

As  I  am  asking  you  to  look  at  the  question  of 
international  peace  and  war  in  the  light  of  reso- 
lute uncompromising  Christian  faith,  and  especially 
with  reference  to  the  personal  duty  lying  upon  us  as 

73  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

citizens  of  a  Christian  country,  I  do  not  dwell  at  any 
length  upon  the  aspects  of  war  which  have  presented 
themselves  to  historical  inquirers,  when  they  have 
endeavoured  to  estimate  the  effects  of  particular  wars 
upon  the  nations  which  have  been  engaged  in  them. 
But  if  we  reject  the  doctrine  that  a  war  has  always 
been  sin  and  wickedness  from  beginning  to  end  and 
on  both  sides,  and  hold  that  a  nation  may  be  obeying 
Christ  in  taking  up  arms,  there  may  well  be  some 
Christian  satisfaction  in  recognizing  the  service  which 
war  has  been  made  to  render  to  the  progress  of  man- 
kind. We  rightly  desire  to  see  in  the  history  of  the 
world  as  many  signs  of  a  beneficent  governing  Hand 
as  we  can  discern.  Looking  back  upon  the  period 
which  comes  within  living  memory,  we  find  results 
of  primary  importance  ascribed  by  political  observers 
to  almost  every  great  war  of  the  period.  There  seem 
to  be  knots  in  human  affairs  which  cannot  be  untied 
by  negotiation,  and  which  require  the  violence  of  war 
to  cut  them.  I  suppose  there  is  no  American,  even 
in  the  Southern  States,  who  does  not  now  recognize 
that  the  sufferings  and  losses  of  the  civil  war  were  a 
price  that  it  was  worth  while  to  pay  for  the  deliver- 
ance of  the  continent  from  slavery,  and  for  the 
higher  and  closer  unity  which  binds  the  several  States 
and  their  people  into  one  great  nation.  On  the  soil 
of  Italy  rivers  of  blood  have  been  shed  in  our  time  ; 
but  the  result  of  the  carnage  has  been  to  change  Italy 
from  being  a  geographical  expression  into  a  united 
nation  and  an  important  European  Power.  As  to  the 
terrible  war  between  Germany  and  France,  it  is  im- 
possible that  Germans  can  regard  it  as  a  baneful  and 
fruitless  crime ;  whilst  even  Frenchmen,  smarting 
under  the  humiliation  of  their  country,  have  been 
able  to  recognize  great  compensating  advantages  in 
the  downfall  of  the  Second  Empire  and  in  the  forcing 
of  wholesome  thought  into  the  minds  of  the  French 

PEACE  AND    WAR.  79 

people.  Those  who  value  trade  highly,  as  most  do  of 
those  to  whom  war  is  entirely  evil  and  absolutely 
wrong,  will  not  be  able  to  blind  themselves  to  the 
good  which  may  at  least  be  occasioned  by  evil,  if 
victorious  Japan  should  compel  the  Chinese  to  open 
their  whole  empire  freely  to  foreign  trade.  This  will 
do  the  Chinese  themselves  more  good,  in  the  mere 
maintenance  of  physical  life  and  well-being,  than  they 
will  have  suffered  harm  in  the  slaughter  of  their 
worthless  armies  and  the  disabling  of  costly  vessels. 
A  war  is  sharp,  but  it  does  not  last  long,  whilst  these 
vast  boons  go  on  spreading  their  influence  from  year 
to  year  and  from  generation  to  generation. 

Such  historical  observations  may  make  us  doubtful 
whether  the  time  has  yet  come  in  the  counsels  of 
God  for  the  superseding  of  war,  and  therefore  less  will- 
ing to  risk  the  honour  and  greatness  of  our  country 
on  the  chance  that  no  foreign  Power  will  ever  offer  us 
an  insult  or  do  us  an  injury ;  but  they  ought  not  to 
persuade  statesmen — and  I  do  not  believe  that  they 
would — to  speculate  in  war  as  a  means  of  gaining 
something  for  their  country  and  for  mankind.  I 
would  echo  the  doctrine  of  the  Quakers,  that  where 
duty  is  clear,  the  results  of  doing  it  are  to  be  left  in 
God's  hands.  God  knows  better  than  we  do  how  His 
world  is  to  be  governed.  He  must  have  ways,  whether 
we  can  imagine  them  or  not,  of  governing  the  world 
without  war.  He  must  know  how  to  save  a  people 
from  being  engrossed  by  money-getting,  or  surrender- 
ing themselves  to  the  excitements  of  frivolity  and 
carnal  pleasure,  or  being  turned  into  sheep  by  the 
dull  and  comfortable  routine  of  a  quiet  life.  And 
nothing  can  be  clearer  than  the  Christian  duty  of 
doing  what  makes  for  peace.  It  can  never  be  right 
to  be  insolent,  grasping,  false  to  engagements.  We 
ought  to  be  lovers  of  our  country,  and  it  cannot  be 
wrong  that  a  blush  of  anger  should  come  into  the 


cheek  of  a  Christian  citizen  if  the  honour  of  his  nation 
should  be  outraged  or  its  rightful  interests  assailed  ; 
but  it  is  still  more  certainly  right  that  the  blush 
should  turn  itself  into  one  of  shame  if  the  country 
that  he  loves  should  be  betrayed  by  its  Government 
into  aggressive  or  justly  irritating  action,  especially 
towards  a  weaker  state.  The  ideal  bearing  of  a 
Christian  Power  in  international  relations  seems  to  be 
that  of  a  high-spirited  gentleman  of  the  old  time — of 
a  person,  that  is,  trained  to  the  use  of  arms,  ready  to 
resent  a  purposed  outrage,  but  mindful  of  the  obliga- 
tions of  courtesy  and  honour  and  social  harmony, 
conscious  that  his  station  pledges  him  to  self-restraint 
and  magnanimity,  twilling  to  wound  yet  not  afraid 
to  strike. 



Rector  of  Kettering. 

"His  seed  shall  become  a  multitude  of  nations." — GEN.  xlviii.  19. 

THE  old  Hebrew  patriarch  lay  dying.  Summoned 
to  his  bedside,  his  sons  are  to  be  "  gathered  together 
to  hearken  unto  Israel  their  father/'  as  with  pro- 
phetic insight,  made  more  penetrating  by  approaching 
death,  he  gives  to  each  his  final  message.  But  first 
Joseph,  his  best-loved  son,  has  brought  his  own  two 
lads,  born  to  him  in  Egypt,  to  receive  the  old  man's 
parting  blessing.  "God  .  .  .  bless  the  lads,"  he 
says,  "and  let  them  grow  into  a  multitude  in  the 
midst  of  the  earth."  And  then,  with  growing  keen- 
ness of  prophetic  vision,  he  looks  down  the  ages  of 
the  future,  and,  singling  out  the  younger  lad,  lays 
upon  Ephraim's  head  his  right  hand,  and  promises 
to  his  tribe  a  destiny  of  growing  power.  "  His  seed 
shall  become  a  multitude  of  nations." 

We  must  not  stay  to  consider  what  measure  of 
fulfilment  the  words  received  in  the  later  history  of 
the  powerful  tribe  of  Ephraim,  with  its  predominant 
influence,  its  men  of  war,  its  royal  house  and  goodly 

They  lend  themselves  to  our  present  purpose,  and 
far  more  literally  describe  a  national  growth  and 
development  of  modern  times  even  more  remarkable 


82  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

and  quite  as  unexpected  as  that  of  Israel  of  old  from 
a  clan  to  a  people. 

The  English  people,  once  isolated  among  the 
nations  of  Europe,  numerically  insignificant,  over- 
shadowed by  more  powerful  neighbours,  by  a 
wonderful  outburst  of  national  vigour  and  develop- 
ment, extending  over  three  and  a  half  centuries,  has 
"  grown  into  a  multitude  in  the  midst  of  the  earth  "• 
"  a  multitude  of  nations  "  reproducing  in  the  utter- 
most parts  of  the  earth  their  own  free  institutions 
of  self-government,  yet  bound  together  by  ties  of 
common  kinship  and  common  interest,  and  by  a 
very  real  sentiment  of  common  love. 

This  expansion  of  England,  the  causes  which  have 
produced  it,  the  essential  conditions  of  its  permanent 
stability,  and  the  larger  moral  responsibility  which 
devolves  upon  each  citizen  of  our  great  empire, — these 
are  the  subjects  for  our  consideration  to-day,  not 
unfitly  introduced  by  the  suggestive  words  of  the 
dying  patriarch,  which  lend  themselves  as  a  suitable 
motto  to  the  story  of  the  English  people.  The 
greatness  and  importance  of  the  subject  may  well 
claim  our  closest  attention,  and  if  the  complexity  of 
the  issues  involved  seem  to  make  its  adequate 
treatment  well-nigh  impossible,  I  can  only  ask 
your  pardon,  and  express  the  hope  that  you  will 
follow  out  for  yourselves  some  of  the  lines  of  thought 
which  I  can  only  hope  to  suggest  to  you  in  barest 

Only,  before  we  finally  turn  our  thoughts  from  the 
death-bed  of  the  patriarch,  let  me  point  out  that  his 
words  are  not  merely  a  convenient  motto,  but  to  this 
extent  a  text  that  they  suggest  an  underlying  moral 
correspondence  with  the  central  thought  which  I 
desire  to  emphasize.  The  so-called  blessings  of 
Jacob  to  his  sons  are,  as  you  remember,  prophetic 
outlines  of  the  varying  fortunes  of  their  tribes  in 


later  days.  And  the  characteristic  feature  of  his 
prophecy  is  this,  that  the  moral  and  spiritual 
character  of  the  fathers,  reproduced  in  their  children 
through  successive  generations,  is  the  determining 
factor  which  will  shape  the  social  and  political  fortunes 
of  their  several  descendants.  Reuben  and  Simeon 
will  hand  on  characters  which  will  fail  to  leave  a 
mark  upon  the  world.  Their  names  will  be  blotted 
out  from  the  map  of  the  tribes.  Judah  and  Joseph 
have  gained  a  personal  force  of  character  which,  if 
maintained,  will  make  their  offspring  great  and 
mighty  peoples. 

It  is  this  suggestive  thought,  that  the  political 
welfare  of  peoples  is  determined  by  moral  considera- 
tions, which  justifies  such  a  subject  for  a  sermon  as 
that  proposed  to  you  to-day.  It  is  not,  then,  wholly 
unreasonable  to  go  to  church  to  hear  about  the 
colonies.  Rather  we  may  rejoice  that  in  a  course 
of  sermons  in  which  a  consistent  effort  is  being  made 
to  turn  the  light  of  Christian  teaching  upon  modern 
social  problems,  space  has  been  found  for  a  brief 
study  of  those  problems  peculiar  to  us  as  a  people 
whose  "  seed  has  become  a  multitude  of  nations." 

"The  expansion  of  England"  has  become  the 
almost  hackneyed  phrase  by  which  we  describe  the 
steady  upgrowth  of  this  multitude  of  nations. 
Familiar  as  the  thought  has  become,  it  still  stirs 
the  feelings  of  most  of  us.  We  are  proud  of  our 
great  empire  over  which  the  sun  never  sets,  and  of 
the  oceans  of  the  world  which  have  become  the 
highways  for  British  commerce.  We  are  proud  of 
the  vigorous  life  of  our  growing  colonies,  and  of  the 
British  flag  under  which  peace  and  order  are  secured 
to  distracted  peoples.  We  rejoice  at  the  confidence 
inspired  by  the  British  name  among  countless  uncivi- 
lized races  of  the  world.  But  are  we  at  the  pains  to 
study  the  causes  which  have  led  to  English  greatness, 

84  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

and  the  conditions  of  its  permanence  ?  Do  we  ever 
realize  the  extent  of  our  corresponding  responsi- 
bilities, or  ask  ourselves  seriously  how  far  they  are 
being  neglected  or  fulfilled  ? 

In  studying  the  causes  which  have  led  to  the  strange 
and  irresistible  development  of  our  colonial  empire, 
we  can  no  longer  content  ourselves  with  attributing 
this  new  historical  phenomenon  to  an  inherent  genius 
for  colonization.  The  late  Professor  Seeley,  in  his 
well-known  lectures,1  has  shown  conclusively  that  it 
is  a  new  and  startling  fact  characteristic  only  of 
modern  English  history. 

However  much  the  blood  of  Danes  and  Northmen 
may  have  adapted  our  forefathers  for  colonial  enter- 
prise, the  significant  fact  remains  that  as  a  people 
we  were  the  last  to  enter  the  field.  At  least  four 
of  the  continental  nations  of  Europe  had  won 
colonial  empires  before  our  earliest  venture  in  this 
direction  was  made.  And  next,  we  cannot  fail  to 
note  that  this  modern  development  which  forms  the 
distinctive  feature  of  our  later  history  as  a  people, 
had  its  origin  in  that  mighty  movement  of  the  six- 
teenth century  of  which  the  mainspring  was  the 
great  religious  revival  which  we  call  the  Reformation. 
It  was  not  until  England  had  freed  herself  from  the 
trammels  of  medievalism  that  she  began  to  send 
forth  her  sons  to  the  uttermost  parts  of  the  earth 
to  be  witnesses  to  the  force  and  vigour  of  the  new 
modern  life  which  was  opening  before  them — of  which 
their  religion  was,  in  fact,  the  inspiring  power.  It 
would,  of  course,  be  utterly  misleading  to  assert  that 
the  impulse  to  colonial  enterprise  was  based  upon 
religious  motive.  But  none  the  less  it  may  fairly 
be  maintained  that  the  colonial  development  of 
England  had  its  origin  in  that  religious  revival 
which  stirred  the  life  and  moulded  the  character 
1  "  The  Expansion  of  England,"  by  J.  R.  Seeley. 


of  Englishmen  ;  while  the  presence  of  the  religious 
factor  in  this  development  is  further  evidenced  by 
the  fact,  that  when  the  first  charter  for  the  founding 
of  an  English  colony  was  granted  to  Sir  Humphrey 
Gilbert,  who  took  possession  of  Newfoundland  in 
1583,  the  main  object  of  his  expedition  was  declared 
to  be  to  "  discover  and  to  plant  Christian  inhabitants 
in  places  convenient."  And  from  this  time  and 
throughout  the  seventeenth  century  the  extension 
of  Christ's  kingdom  continued  one  of  the  avowed 
objects  of  British  colonization.1 

But  if  it  be  true  that  religion  thus  operated  as  one 
of  the  powerful  causes  which  resulted  in  successful 
colonial  enterprise,  we  are  led  to  approach  the  further 
question  as  to  the  essential  conditions  of  stability 
of  our  colonial  empire  with  a  fresh  thought  in  our 

To  all  who  try  to  study  the  moral  aspects  of 
political  or  social  life,  the  serious  question  cannot 
fail  to  present  itself  whether,  after  all,  it  can  be  true 
that  nations  and  peoples,  like  individuals,  have  each 
of  them  a  great  moral  purpose  to  serve,  and  that 
in  the  faithful  fulfilment  of  national  vocation  lies 
the  real  condition  of  a  nation's  peace.  The  Bible 
appears  to  state  this  with  absolute  clearness.  The 
inspired  books  are  largely  historical,  and  profess  to 
give  us  a  true  philosophy  of  history — the  veil  lifted 
from  some  typical  chapters  so  as  to  reveal  their 
spiritual  import,  and  teach  us  something  of  the  laws 
of  God's  government  of  the  world.  There,  in  the 
Old  Testament,  we  have  the  story  of  a  nation,  which 
was  also  a  Church,  called  by  God  to  do  a  certain 
spiritual  work  for  the  world  ;  and  the  failure  of  the 
Jewish  Church  to  realize  its  high  vocation  as  the 
appointed  witness  to  God's  truth,  led  to  the  ruin  and 
destruction  of  the  Jewish  people ;  and  the  scattered 

1  See  "Digest  of  S.P.G.  Records,"  p.  I. 

86  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

Jews  of  every  later  age  stand  forth  to  the  world  as 
God's  great  object-lesson  on  a  lost  vocation.  Can 
it  be  that  similar  principles  obtain  elsewhere  ?  That 
history  is  but  the  slow  unfolding  through  successive 
ages  of  God's  great  moral  laws  affecting  social  life  ? 
That  nations  and  empires,  with  their  rise  and  fall, 
pass  under  the  operation  of  moral  forces  as  uniform 
as  all  the  known  forces  of  God's  world,  only  of  a 
higher  order  ?  The  suggestion  is  apt  to  be  laid  aside 
as  impossible.  For  how,  we  ask,  can  political  ethics 
be  other  than  purely  utilitarian  in  character  ?  Ob- 
viously it  appears  that  nations  and  empires  are 
bound  together  solely  from  considerations  of  mutual 
interest.  We  shrink  from  the  application  of  the 
theocratic  idea  to  secular  history.  We  can  hardly 
bring  ourselves  to  believe  that  the  fulfilment  of  a 
moral  and  spiritual  vocation  constitutes  that  which 
belongs  to  a  nation's  peace.  But  the  old  conviction 
to  which  we  hesitate  to  give  expression  comes  back 
to  us  again  with  renewed  force.  Last  year  most  of 
us  were  reading  with  great  interest  a  book  on  "  Social 
Evolution,"  in  which  the  writer,  proceeding  as  an 
investigator  from  the  purely  scientific  standpoint, 
leads  us  to  somewhat  startling  conclusions.  In  social 
evolution  he  traces  the  operation  of  the  same  ever- 
present  law  which  makes  all  vital  progress  depend 
upon  a  constant  struggle  for  existence ;  he  sees 
that,  with  the  development  of  the  rational  principle 
in  man,  the  selfish  instinct  of  the  individual  will  seek 
to  suspend  the  struggle,  even  at  the  cost  of  the 
ultimate  progress  of  the  race ;  and  he  concludes  that 
continuous  social  progress  will  increasingly  depend 
upon  the  development  of  a  spirit  of  self-sacrifice  of 
sufficient  force  to  fortify  men  for  the  ever-increasing 
pressure  of  the  struggle;  that  this  spirit  of  self- 
sacrifice,  which  he  regards  as  the  essential  condition 
of  all  social  progress,  must  rest  upon  an  adequate 


motive  and  moral  sanction  ;  that  religion  alone  can 
furnish  the  required  motive,  and  that  the  progress 
of  the  future  will  be  religious  in  the  direction  of  its 
development.  And  lastly,  he  affirms  that  the  spirit 
of  the  Reformation  has  given  to  an  unique  extent  the 
inspiring  impulse  to  social  progress. 

But  if  this  argument,  even  in  general  outline, 
commands  our  assent,  the  scientific  investigator  has 
thrown  an  entirely  new  light  upon  the  political 
history  and  social  progress  of  our  race.  The  ex- 
pansion of  England  needs  to  be  regarded  from  a  new 
point  of  view.  "The  multitude  of  nations,"  which 
is  the  result  of  a  great  religious  movement,  has  a 
mighty  task  to  perform  in  the  world ;  but  the  task 
is  primarily  a  religious  one,  and  the  determining 
factor  upon  which  the  welfare  of  the  empire  depends 
is  the  continued  religious  character  of  the  peoples 
of  whom  it  is  composed.  Well  may  the  British 
empire  thrill  us  with  a  feeling  of  enthusiasm  and 
patriotic  zeal.  But  we  shall  begin  to  realize  that  its 
centre  of  gravity  is  shifting  from  the  Stock  Exchange 
to  the  Church.  Its  real  condition  of  permanent 
health  depends  upon  its  ability  to  maintain  a  dis- 
tinctively religious  character.  The  English  empire 
will  no  longer  be  regarded  merely  as  an  aggregate 
of  peoples  accidentally  held  together  by  economic 
considerations,  but  rather  as  "  a  multitude  of  nations  " 
with  a  spiritual  vocation  which  must  at  all  costs  be 

Probably  this  aspect  of  our  empire,  viewed  from 
a  religious  point  of  view,  will  strike  many  as  an 
unfamiliar  thought,  perhaps  as  a  merely  fanciful  idea. 
For  myself,  I  can  only  say  that  if  I  did  not  believe 
in  it,  I  should  not  be  here  to-day  to  preach  about 
our  colonies.  And  surely  indications  are  not  want- 
ing which  go  to  prove  that  it  is  not  a  fanciful  idea. 
The  practical  evidence  of  a  dominant  religious 

88  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

principle  is  to  be  sought,  as  the  writer  of  "  Social 
Evolution "  indicates,  in  the  existence  of  the  spirit 
of  self-sacrifice.  And  we  find  abundant  proof  that 
England  and  her  colonies  are  prepared  for  mutual 
self-sacrifice.  The  very  existence  of  the  principle 
of  free  trade  amongst  ourselves,  with  no  assertion  of 
a  corresponding  claim  upon  our  colonies  for  reciprocal 
advantages,  is  a  standing  evidence  of  the  spirit  which 
animates  England ;  while  the  enthusiastic  rivalry 
with  which  colonial  volunteers  sought  to  gain  the 
place  of  honour  by  the  side  of  English  soldiers  in 
their  vain  attempt  to  save  a  noble  Englishman  from 
a  cruel  death,  proved  to  the  world  the  readiness  of 
our  colonies  to  spend  and  be  spent  for  the  sake  of 
the  mother  country. 

But  these  are  only  isolated  examples,  and  they 
come  upon  us  almost  as  a  surprise,  for  the  simple 
reason  that  we  have  hardly  learned  to  regard  the 
question  from  this  point  of  view;  and  because,  if 
we  admit  that  religion  provides  the  only  adequate 
motive  of  self-sacrifice,  we  must  acknowledge  to  our 
shame  that  in  the  past  we  have  made  no  real  attempt 
to  provide  our  colonies  with  the  means  for  developing 
this  motive. 

And  this  brings  me  to  my  last  point — our  national 
responsibility :  its  past  neglect,  and  our  present 

How  have  we  as  a  Christian  people  dealt  with  our 
colonies  in  this  respect  ?  Not  like  the  old  pioneers 
who  went  out  to  "discover  and  to  plant  Christian 
inhabitants  in  places  convenient."  We  peopled 
Australia  with  our  convicts.  We  sent  them  out 
by  hundreds,  with  no  adequate  provision  for  their 
spiritual  needs.  We  founded  societies  of  criminals, 
where  the  conditions  of  life  became  so  loathsome 
that  suicide  was  regarded  as  a  legitimate  and  natural 
end  to  their  miserable  existence.  We  thought  to 


govern  India  with  greater  ease  by  seeking  to  prevent 
the  conversion  of  the  natives  to  the  faith  of  Christ. 
We  closed  our  eyes  in  days  gone  by  to  cruel  treat- 
ment of  native  races  by  English  traders.  These  are 
some  of  the  stern  facts  which  mark  the  spiritual 
apathy  of  our  people  in  the  past.  And  every  such 
fact  is  a  cause  which  involves  a  consequence.  We 
have  good  cause  to  know,  from  home  experience,  how 
the  spiritual  apathy  of  one  age  produces  the  political 
problems  of  the  next.  The  burning  questions  of 
to-day  which  exercise  the  minds  of  our  statesmen 
are  but  the  outcome  of  the  spiritual  failure  of  the 
Church  of  the  English  people  to  realize  in  days  gone 
by  her  high  vocation.  Can  we  wonder  if,  in  the  face 
of  facts  like  these,  colonial  problems  seem  difficult 
of  solution  ?  Should  we  have  a  right  to  complain 
if  those  young  communities  repaid  our  past  neglect 
with  a  growing  indifference  and  selfishness  ?  That 
such  is  happily  not  the  case  to  any  large  extent,  is 
due  to  the  great  awakening  of  the  conscience  of 
England  during  the  past  fifty  years  to  a  sense  of  the 
spiritual  responsibility  which  rests  upon  her.  Much, 
indeed,  has  been  done  to  roll  away  the  reproach. 
Eight  years  ago  we  kept  the  centenary  of  our  colonial 
episcopate.  And  now,  in  little  more  than  a  century, 
we  have  nearly  one  hundred  colonial  and  missionary 
bishops.  This  fact  is  one  index  of  the  extent  to 
which  the  Churchmen  of  England  have  been  roused 
to  learn,  if  tardily,  the  force  of  the  Apostle's  question, 
"  How  shall  they  hear  without  a  preacher  ?  how  shall 
they  preach  except  they  be  sent  ?  "  But  even  now 
can  we  profess  that  our  responsibilities  are  at 
all  adequately  discharged?  Our  oldest  missionary 
society,  which  makes  the  welfare  of  our  colonies  its 
special  charge — nay,  which  has  given  us  our  colonial 
Churches — is  supported  with  a  paltry  sum  of  ^"80,000 
a  year.  How  many  business  men,  with  direct  or 

90  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

indirect  colonial  interests,  think  it  their  duty  to  be 
subscribers  to  the  Society  for  the  Propagation  of  the 
Gospel  ? 

Or,  again,  to  turn  to  more  direct  responsibilities, 
any  one  who  has  had  experience  of  colonial  work 
knows  that  the  circumstance  which  most  hampers 
every  scheme  of  colonial  Church  extension  (and 
remember  the  furtherance  of  religion  is  that  which 
the  scientist  now  points  to  as  the  essential  condition 
of  future  progress  and  prosperity)  arises  from  the 
fact  that  owners  of  property  are  to  a  large  extent 
non-resident.  Our  colonies  suffer  from  absenteeism. 
They  are  largely  worked  by  English  capital.  And 
while  the  poor  of  England  pour  forth  in  a  steady 
stream  to  the  colonies  to  seek  new  homes  beyond 
the  sea,  where  no  adequate  provision  is  made  for 
their  spiritual  needs,  the  wealth  of  those  colonies, 
which  should  enable  such  provision  to  be  made,  to 
a  large  extent  comes  home  to  England  to  enrich  the 
shareholders  in  colonial  companies.  Its  results  are 
seen  on  Scotch  moors  and  in  our  London  parks. 
And  the  mass  of  those  whose  economic  connection 
with  the  colonies  lays  upon  them  a  moral  responsi- 
bility to  the  distant  land  from  which  their  income  is 
in  part  derived,  find  too  many  reasons  to  repudiate 
the  claim.  The  majority  of  individual  shareholders 
are  not  prepared  to  make  the  discharge  of  this  moral 
claim  a  first  charge  upon  their  dividends.  They 
have  many  calls  at  home.  They  give  liberally,  it 
may  be,  to  religious  objects.  They  cannot  concern 
themselves  with  the  needs  of  colonial  Churches.  The 
public  companies  plead  their  inability  to  give  in 
support  of  Church  work  because  of  the  tenor  of  their 
articles  of  association.  These  things  ought  not  to 
be.  And  each  can  do  a  very  little  to  insure  a  more 
frank  and  liberal  acknowledgment  of  this  moral  and 
spiritual  claim.  Will  not  individual  shareholders 


learn  to  regard  this  as  a  debt  of  honour,  due  to  the 
colony  from  which  their  income  comes ;  due  to 
England  and  to  the  empire  which  depends  for  its 
prosperity  upon  vocation  faithfully  fulfilled  ;  due  to 
Christ,  Who  has  laid  it  upon  us  above  all  people  to 
be  His  faithful  witnesses  unto  the  uttermost  parts  of 
the  earth  ? 

If  once  a  healthier  public  opinion  be  formed 
through  the  force  of  individual  example,  the  good 
leaven  will  spread,  and  the  great  investment  com- 
panies which  own  colonial  property  will  eliminate 
from  their  articles  any  clause  which  forbids  the 
recognition  of  spiritual  claims.  It  will  be  a  sad 
day  for  England  if  "  the  multitude  of  nations " 
which  have  sprung  from  her  become  dominated  by 
secularism  and  selfishness  through  our  neglect. 

It  has  already  proved  in  many  cases,  if  I  mistake 
not,  a  sad  day  for  shareholders  in  colonial  companies. 
And  while  I  almost  shrink  from  seeming  to  base  an 
appeal  upon  sordid  and  secondary  motives,  my  task 
will  not  be  complete  without  the  expression  of  my 
own  strong  conviction  that  the  discharge  of  these 
spiritual  responsibilities  has  a  very  real  economic 
value.  In  our  economic  dealings  with  our  colonies 
we  shall  find  a  very  literal  fulfilment  of  the  Master's 
words,  "  With  what  measure  ye  mete  withal  it  shall 
be  measured  to  you  again."  In  the  flowing  tide 
of  colonial  life  there  are  strong  currents  which  set 
with  increasing  force  in  the  direction  of  social  and 
financial  disorganization.  Industrial  problems,  racial 
problems  which  are  closely  connected  with  them,  a 
dishonest  mental  habit  which  finds  expression  in 
reckless  speculation  with  all  its  disastrous  results, — 
these  are  some  of  the  dangers  which  give  to  colonial 
prosperity  a  sense  of  insecurity  which  quickly  makes 
itself  apparent  in  the  money  market.  One  force 
alone  can  give  the  true  solution  to  these  problems — 

92  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

that  which  comes  from  the  application  of  Christian 
teaching  to  the  facts  of  life.  And  if  that  force  is 
found  too  weak  to  stem  the  tide  of  selfishness,  it  is 
because  our  niggardliness  withholds  the  means  which 
can  make  the  Church  of  Jesus  Christ  the  informing 
power  of  the  life  of  those  great  and  growing  com- 
munities. The  noble  task  is  ours  by  right.  The 
special  genius  of  the  colonies  demands  an  inspiration 
of  a  special  kind,  which  the  Church  alone  has  in- 
herited the  power  to  give.  Strong  with  the  force  of 
Catholic  tradition  and  the  authority  of  an  Apostolic 
mission,  and  quickened  by  the  free  spirit  of  self- 
reliance  drawn  from  the  Reformation,  she  can  bring 
forth  out  of  her  treasures  things  new  and  old.  No 
other  Christian  community,  however  zealous,  can 
supply  the  spiritual  force  adapted  to  impress  the 
Christian  character  upon  colonial  life.  The  golden 
opportunity  is  ours  still.  It  remains  for  all  who 
realize  the  urgency  of  the  call,  and  the  greatness  of 
the  issues  which  are  involved,  to  strive,  by  liberal 
offerings  and  earnest  self-denying  efforts,  so  to  fulfil 
our  national  vocation  that  the  "  multitude  of  nations  " 
may  become  "the  kingdoms  of  our  Lord  and  of  His 



REV.  J.  CHARLES   COX,  LL.D.,  F.S.A. 
"  Desire  a  better  country." — HEB.  xi.   16. 

IT  has  been  suggested  to  me,  as  the  half-century  of 
my  life  has  been  spent  almost  exclusively  amid  the 
fair  surroundings  of  England's  rural  scenery,  that  a 
suitable  theme  for  this  brief  city  talk  would  be 
"  Country  Life."  But  keen  as  may  be  my  appre- 
ciation of  nature's  rustic  charm — and  yours  may  be 
keener  still  just  because  of  your  rarer  opportunities 
of  enjoying  them — we  meet  not  here  to  "  babble  of 
green  fields,"  nor  to 

"...  pause  on  every  charm, — 
The  sheltered  cot,  the  cultivated  farm, 
The  never-failing  brook,  the  busy  mill, 
The  decent  church  that  topt  the  neighbouring  hill, 
The  hawthorn  bush,  with  seats  beneath  the  shade, 
For  talking  age  and  whispering  lovers  made." 

A  sterner  task  is  ours.  We  meet  here  in  God's 
house  to  remind  ourselves  that  there  is  a  social 
question  in  our  thinly  populated  country  districts 
just  as  much  as  in  our  crowded  towns;  that  the 
urgency  of  its  demands  is  the  most  pressing  question 
of  the  day  ;  and  that  "  the  intolerable  situation  into 
which  the  lower  grades  of  our  industrial  population 
now  find  themselves  driven  "  (I  quote  the  words  of 

94  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

that  great  leader  of  earnest  city  church-folk,  Canon 
Scott  Holland)  is  mainly  owing  to  our  failure  to 
make  the  country  attractive  and  liveable  for  those 
who  ought  to  be  the  busy  and  therefore  the  happy 
toilers  in  our  fields. 

When  we  reflect  that  the  extraordinary  and  un- 
paralleled disproportion  between  our  rural  and  urban 
population  is  growing,  after  a  startlingly  increasing 
ratio,  year  by  year ;  that  our  sturdy  agricultural 
labourers  are  turning  their  backs  upon  the  land,  and 
adding  to  the  overcrowding  of  city  tenements  and 
the  unskilled  labour  markets  of  the  town,  by  the  ten 
thousand  in  a  twelvemonth  ;  that  much  of  England's 
soil  is  going  altogether  out  of  cultivation  as  season 
follows  season ;  that  one  hundred  thousand  acres  per 
annum  have  for  some  years  been  turned  from  the 
growing  of  cereals  into  mere  pasture-land  ;  that  the 
land  which  is  under  active  cultivation  is  producing 
less  and  less,  and  getting  more  and  more  befouled ; 
that  about  fifty  per  cent,  of  the  unemployed  of  our 
towns  were  originally  working  on  the  land  ;  and  that 
the  number  of  steady-lived  villagers  who  are  prac- 
tically out  of  employ  from  the  ingathering  of  the 
harvest  to  the  spring  sowing  grows  larger  each 
recurring  winter ; — why,  then,  surely,  it  is  permissible 
for  us — nay,  not  permissible,  but  right,  and  if  right, 
righteous,  and  therefore  a  godly  thing — to  desire  in 
this  England  of  ours,  for  the  sake  of  our  nation,  our- 
selves, and  God's  starving  poor,  a  "  better  country " 
than  the  one  in  which  we  now  live  under  its  present 

These  are  broad  and  general  statements,  but  they 
are  amply  substantiated  by  national  statistics  as  well 
as  by  the  independent  researches  of  painstaking  indi- 
viduals. They  are  facts  that  approve  themselves 
not  only  to  those  who  long  for  great  and  consider- 
able social  changes,  but  to  sober,  earnest-minded 


Conservative  statesmen  such  as  Sir  John  Gorst,  and  to 
many  careful  speakers  who  support  the  agricultural 
views  of  Lord  Winchelsea's  Union.  It  would  be 
downright  sinful,  as  well  as  cowardly,  to  quote  such 
figures,  or  to  give  credence  to  such  statements  from 
the  pulpit,  unless  they  were  practically  assured 
realities.  It  is  in  vain  to  expect  to  kindle  in  practical 
Englishmen  a  desire  for  a  "better  country,"  unless 
they  are  first  convinced  that  the  country  needs 
improving.  Occasional  visits  to  picturesque  villages 
or  breezy  downs,  for  health  or  recreation,  may  leave 
no  other  impression  than  a  gratifying  contrast  to 
London  grime  or  town  squalor.  Nay,  the  whole  of 
a  mainly  selfish  life  may  be  led  in  the  country  or  the 
suburbs,  and  eyes  and  ears  and  heart  may  remain 
sealed  to  the  truth. 

Allow  me,  in  a  sentence  or  two,  to  put  the  case  of 
the  purely  country  district  where  I  now  live  in 
certain  aspects  before  you.  It  is  the  rural  union 
district  of  Brixworth,  Northamptonshire,  comprising 
thirty-six  small  parishes,  with  an  area  of  60,000  acres 
and  a  population  of  12,000.  It  is  well  known  to 
some  as  being  in  the  centre  of  the  Pytchley  hunt, 
and  to  others  as  being  the  ideal  union  of  the  most 
rigidly  enforced  experiments  of  the  non-out-relief 
school  of  Poor  Law  economists.  But  whatever  success 
this  workhouse-test,  rate-saving  policy  of  twenty 
years'  duration  (now  beginning  to  collapse)  may 
have  had  in  the  eyes  of  its  well-intentioned  promoters, 
it  has  not  saved  the  district  from  depopulation  of  a 
most  serious  character  (the  most  serious  in  all  the 
county),  it  having  decreased  by  1600  in  seventy 
years,  1200  of  that  decrease  being  in  the  last  ten; 
it  has  not  enabled  the  employers  of  labour  to  pay 
better  wages,  the  weekly  wage  having  dropped  this 
winter  to  12s.  for  the  ordinary  workers  and  13^  for 
the  seven-day  men ;  and  it  has  not  prevented  a  large 

96  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

number  of  men,  eager  for  work,  standing  idle  during 
the  winter. 

An  amateur  census  of  the  unemployed  in  that 
union  was  recently  taken,  with  the  result  that  234 
able-bodied  labourers  were  found  to  be  out  of  work 
before  ever  the  recent  long-continued  frost  set  in. 
Most  of  these  were  married  men,  so  that  it  followed 
that  some  700  persons  were  suffering  considerable 
privation  just  at  the  season  when  warm  clothing, 
abundance  of  fuel,  and  extra  nourishment  are  among 
the  necessaries  for  sustaining  a  decently  healthy  life. 
In  my  own  small  historic  village  of  Holdenby,  round 
the  charming  village  green,  were  living  fifteen  able- 
bodied  householders  ;  ten  were  in  work  and  five  could 
not  obtain  it,  or  only  fitfully  and  an  odd  day  at  a 
time.  In  the  same  parish,  on  the  home  farm  of  540 
acres,  there  were  three  men  employed — that  is,  one 
labourer  to  180  acres.  Broad  statements  require 
corroborating  occasionally  by  more  minute  details 
such  as  these.  Can  any  one  dare  to  say  that  this  is 
a  desirable  state  of  things  ?  Is  this  to  be  the  country 
life  of  England?  Is  it  not,  too,  a  condition  of  things 
for  which  each  one  of  us  is  to  some  extent,  and  in 
differing  degree,  responsible  ?  Is  it  not  right,  then, 
that  we  should  desire  a  "  better  country  "  ?  And  a 
better  country  means  a  better  town. 

Strange  talk,  methinks  some  of  you,  my  brothers, 
may  be  saying  to  yourselves,  for  a  church  pulpit ;  but 
if  there  are  these  evil  conditions  wrapping  themselves 
closer  and  closer  round  the  very  germs  of  our  national 
life  and  existence — for  the  origin  of  all  existence  and 
prosperity  is  the  cultivation  of  the  earth — surely  it  is 
better  that  they  should  be  brought  home  to  us  in 
positive  methods,  rather  than  be  smothered  up  in 
sermon  euphemisms,  or  rendered  palatable  by  being 
presented  in  the  vague  generalities  of  everyday 
speech.  Strange  talk,  too,  some  again  may  say,  to 


base  upon  a  text  which,  if  taken  in  its  entirety, 
clearly  lays  down  that  the  "  better  country  "  we  should 
seek  is  a  heavenly  inheritance. 

True ;  but  look  for  a  moment  or  two  at  the  teaching 
of  this  whole  passage  in  the  Hebrews.  The  great 
patriarch  of  old  went  forth  from  his  heathen  home  to 
seek  on  this  earth,  under  God's  guidance,  a  promised 
land,  a  better  country.  Had  he  been  unduly  mindful 
of  the  country  from  whence  he  came  out,  he  had 
many  an  opportunity  to  return.  But  no  ;  Abraham 
and  his  immediate  posterity  realized  plainly  that  they 
were  in  the  land  of  promise,  where  their  descendants 
would  be  eventually  established,  each  beneath  his 
own  vine  and  fig  tree.  At  the  same  time,  they 
equally  acknowledged  themselves  to  be  but  strangers 
and  pilgrims  in  this  world,  looking  forward  finally  to 
an  inheritance  in  the  heavenly  country.  One  of  the 
earliest  of  the  Fathers  who  writes  about  this  passage 
points  out  that  all  men  naturally  look  for  an  earthly 
abiding-place,  a  home  that  they  can  call  their  own, 
one  little  spot,  however  humble,  of  which  they  cannot 
be  dispossessed.  The  same  idea  is  well  elaborated 
by  the  modern  commentator  Delitzsch.  "The 
promise,"  says  he,  "given  to  the  patriarchs  was  a 
divine  assurance  of  a  future  rest ;  that  rest  was  con- 
nected, in  the  first  instance,  with  the  future  possession 
of  an  earthly  home ;  but  their  desire  for  that  home 
was,  at  the  same  time,  a  longing  and  a  seeking  after 
Him  Who  had  given  the  promise  of  it,  Whose  presence 
and  blessing  alone  made  it  for  them  an  object  of 
desire,  and  Whose  presence  and  blessing,  wherever 
vouchsafed,  makes  the  place  of  its  manifestation  to 
be  indeed  a  heaven.  The  shell  of  their  longing 
might  thus  be  of  earth,  its  kernel  was  heavenly 
and  divine,  and  as  such  God  Himself  vouchsafed  to 
honour  and  reward  it." 

Yes,  how  true  it  is  that  the  shell  of  the  patriarchal 


98  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

longing  and  their  eager  desire  was  for  the  establish- 
ing in  their  own  earthly  homes,  in  the  valleys  and 
plains  of  the  fair  land  where  they  but  lived  in  tents, 
of  their  numerous  posterity — homes  of  a  permanent 
freehold  character,  which  they  should  hold  in  peace, 
none  making  them  afraid  !  The  kernel  of  their  hopes 
was  heavenly.  But  no  kernel  can  come  to  perfection, 
nay,  have  any  existence  at  all,  without  its  protecting 
shell.  The  shell  is  large  and  real  and  self-evident, 
when  the  kernel  is  but  tiny,  delicate,  and  in  the  germ. 
Their  desires  were  first  directed  to  the  beautiful  and 
comparatively  permanent  earthly  home,  and  thence 
on,  by  a  transference  of  ideas,  to  the  everlasting 
habitations  of  the  world  to  come. 

What,  then,  become  of  the  teachings  of  the  Church, 
based  as  they  mainly  should  be  (with  the  writer  of 
the  Hebrews)  on  the  reading  of  New  Testament 
ideas  into  the  histories  of  the  Old,  unless  we  can 
point  to  earthly  abiding- places  as  pledges  and  fore- 
tastes of  the  eternal  inheritance  and  the  many 
mansions  of  Christian  hopes  ?  The  present  extra- 
ordinary and  unparalleled  condition  of  land  tenure 
in  England,  brought  about  gradually  through  centuries 
of  past  class  legislature  and  class  greed,  whereby 
almost  the  whole  of  the  farmers  and  labourers  of 
England  are  the  mere  tenants-at-will  of  a  handful  of 
their  fellows,  a  very  considerable  number  of  them 
liable  to  be  dislodged  with  their  families  at  a  week's 
notice,  is  not  only  eminently  undesirable  in  the 
interests  of  the  whole  nation,  and  an  economically 
false  position,  but  it  deprives  many  a  New  Testament 
parable  and  apostolic  saying,  as  well  as  the  true 
spiritual  interpretation  of  Old  Testament  narratives, 
of  their  efficacy  and  force. 

Are  we  dissatisfied  with  the  country  life  of  England 
as  it  now  is,  with  its  lack  of  comfort  and  stability 
for  the  workers — those  husbandmen  who  should  be 


the  first  and  not  the  last  partakers  of  its  fruits — and 
with  its  ever-dwindling  food-supply  for  the  people 
who  dwell  upon  its  soil  ?  Do  we,  after  a  careful 
examination  as  to  the  realities  of  these  evils,  desire 
a  better  country  life  ?  Why,  then  we  must  not  let 
our  yearnings  evaporate  in  mere  wishes,  or  even  in 
words.  We  must  each  of  us  use  all  those  powers 
that  our  English  citizenship  has  given  us,  wisely  and 
well,  to  try  and  effect  some  change.  No  need  of 
discouragement,  if  it  does  not  seem  likely  to  us  with 
our  poor  finite  judgment,  nor  hardly  possibly  that 
any  very  thorough  change  should  come  in  our  own 
day  or  generation  ;  let  us  work  as  the  patriarchs  did 
for  the  establishment  of  permanent  and  happy  homes 
for  those  that  are  to  come  after.  Much,  however, 
can  be  at  once  accomplished  by  the  humane  use  of 
powers  now  within  our  grasp,  and  by  the  individual 
exercise  of  our  humanity.  Once  we  truly  desire, 
and  the  battle  is  half  won.  Desire,  we  are  told,  is 
"  an  eagerness  to  obtain  any  good."  That  is  a  fine 
definition,  and  desires  of  that  kind  cannot  fail  of 
their  eventual  accomplishment. 

Do  we  "  desire  a  better  country,  that  is,  an 
heavenly"?  Why,  then,  the  New  Testament  tells 
us  that  we  must  be  full  of  energy  and  activity,  true 
members  of  the  Church  militant ;  for  it  is  the  violent 
only,  or  those  who  exercise  continuous  force,  that  gain 
final  admission  to  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  the  Church 
triumphant.  Do  we  desire  admission  within  the 
heavenly  country  ?  Why,  then,  "  our  conversation  " 
must  be  in  heaven  ;  or  as  it  is  more  faithfully  ren- 
dered— for  this  word  is  represented  in  the  original  by 
two  expressions — "  our  life  of  citizenship  J>  must  be  of 
a  heavenly  character ;  that  is,  seeking  not  our  own 
advantage,  but  the  advantage  of  others.  Twice  over  did 
St.  Paul  express  this  truth  in  his  letter  to  the  church 
of  Philippi ;  and  surely  there  is  need  in  these  days 

ioo  A    LENT  IN  LONDON, 

for  Englishmen,  when  their  rights  as  citizens  have  of 
late  been  multiplied  (more  especially  in  the  country 
districts),  to  be  reminded  of  the  golden  truth  that  a 
conscientious,  unselfish,  and  truly  Christian  or  Christ- 
like  exercise  of  our  earthly  citizenship,  for  the  general 
good  of  others,  is  one  of  the  best  possible  prepara- 
tions for  the  eternal  citizenship  of  the  New  Jerusalem. 

Our  desires  for  a  better  country  in  this  life  may 
lead  us,  when  conscientiously  and  prayerfully  followed 
out,  in  diverse  directions.  To  some  they  may  suggest 
the  arrangement  of  various  necessary  public  works  in 
the  winter  months,  direct  employment  and  fair  wages 
at  the  hands  of  district  and  county  councils,  labour 
bureaus,  and  other  like  agencies  ;  to  others  the  exten- 
sion of  allotments,  and  small  holdings  ;  to  others 
fixity  of  tenure,  fair  rents,  change  in  the  incidence 
of  rates,  or  more  drastic  legislative  remedies  than 
these  ;  to  others,  who  have  the  power,  a  more  generous 
treatment  and  trust  of  their  dependents.  But  to  one 
thing  an  honest  desire  for  betterment  cannot  lead, 
namely,  to  the  sitting  down,  with  our  own  hands 
folded,  whilst  tongue  or  pen  are  employed  in  the  empty 
task  of  criticizing  or  sneering  at  the  socialistic  schemes 
of  others.  There  are,  alas,  not  a  few  amongst  us  of 
no  mean  intellectual  gifts,  whose  chief  contributions 
to  the  terrible  problems  before  us  are  the  belittling 
the  dangers  that  others  point  out,  and  triumphantly 
exposing  the  exaggerations  of  which  some  earnest 
souls  may  occasionally  be  guilty. 

But  in  whatever  direction  our  own  idea  of  the  best 
remedy  or  remedies  may  run,  those  ideas  and  the 
actions  to  which  they  lead  cannot  fail  to  be  in  some 
degree  blessed,  if  we  keep  clearly  before  us  as  Chris- 
tians "that  the  ultimate  solution  of  this  social  ques- 
tion is  bound  to  be  discovered  in  the  Person  and 
Life  of  Christ.  He  is  'the  Man;'  and  He  must 
be  the  solution  of  all  human  problems.  That  is  our 


primal  creed.  Not  only  is  He,  as  the  'Man  of 
sorrows,'  the  Brother  and  Comforter  of  all  who  are 
weary  and  heavy  laden  ;  not  only  are  the  poor  His 
peculiar  charge  and  treasure ;  but  more  than  that : 
He  is  Himself,  in  His  risen  and  ascended  royalty, 
the  sum  of  all  human  endeavour,  the  interpretation 
of  all  human  history,  the  goal  of  all  human  growth, 
the  bond  of  all  human  brotherhood.  It  is  in  this 
character  that  He  is  kept  so  little  in  practical  mind  ; 
it  is  this  office  of  His  which  is  reserved  to  such  an 
obscure  and  ineffectual  background."  This  should 
be  realized  in  all  that  pertains  to  the  citizenship  of 
to-day  ;  in  all  that  we  as  Christians  do  or  say,  write 
or  read,  with  regard  to  the  socialism  of  our  times. 
If  the  Christian  or  the  Christ-follower  is  genuine, 
and  not  a  mere  mammon-worshipper  labelled  with 
the  popular  religious  name  of  the  century,  he  will 
strive  to  realize  that  on  him  individually,  as  a 
precious  and  very  real  baptismal  gift,  has  been 
bestowed  the  indwelling  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost, 
the  guide  and  conscience  of  his  life.  To  that  unseen 
power  he  will  appeal  when  he  takes  his  part  in 
parish  or  district  or  county  council,  when  called 
upon  to  discuss  social  problems,  or  when  these 
problems  are  thrust  upon  his  attention  in  the  course 
of  daily  life  or  reading.  It  is  only  by  thus  exercising 
his  Christian  citizenship  here,  in  a  prayerful  and 
serious  spirit,  that  he  can  expect  to  enter  upon  the 
pure  citizenship  of  the  hereafter. 

Let  us  just  notice,  in  conclusion,  the  answer  of 
God,  as  expressed  in  the  verse  from  which  our  text 
is  taken,  to  this  yearning  desire  for  a  better  country  : 
"  He  prepared  for  them  a  city."  At  first  blush  this 
seems  a  contradiction  to  their  hopes.  But  no ;  the 
fulfilment  of  the  patriarchs*  expectation,  and  the  goal 
of  the  clearer  perceptions  of  Christians,  is  the  con- 
joined idea  of  a  garden  and  a  city,  a  paradise  and  yet 

102  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

a  town.  Man's  life  must  be  a  social  one  here — a  life 
of  interdependence;  and  so,  too,  with  the  renewed  life 
beyond  the  grave.  Heaven  is  to  be  no  dream  of 
absolute  rustic  seclusion,  amid  the  fairest  of  blooms 
and  the  sweetest  of  sounds  ;  no  fencing  in  of  a  single 
family  within  either  stately  park  walls,  or  fragrant 
cottage  hedgerows.  The  life  that  centres  round 
"  God's  dwelling-place  "  is  to  be  a  community  life  ;  all 
its  blessings  are  to  be  shared  by  all ;  and  if  there  is  not 
on  our  part  true  brotherhood  here,  and  continuous 
and  earnest  efforts  to  remove  the  miserable  sur- 
roundings of  our  fellows,  there  can  be  for  us  no 
possible  admission.  The  selfish,  and  those  who  fight 
mainly  for  their  own  sordid  ends,  will  inevitably  be 
shut  out,  or  else  the  whole  of  Scripture  is  a  lie  ! 

The  holy  city  is  to  be  fair  beyond  the  power  of 
words  in  all  its  proportions  ;  the  walls  of  jasper  and 
the  streets  of  purest  gold  ;  the  river  of  life  that  flows 
through  its  midst  will  be  clear  as  crystal ;  so  pure 
and  fertilizing  will  be  the  atmosphere,  that  the  trees 
along  the  river's  brim  will  bear  all  manner  of  fruits 
in  continuous  succession,  and  its  courts  will  ever 
echo  with  the  rhythm  of  melodious  sounds.  Nor 
can  we  doubt  that  all  that  is  purest  and  best  of  God- 
inspired  art  will  find  its  abiding-place  in  the  eternal 

If  that,  then,  is  the  ideal  that  God  in  His  revelation 
sets  before  us  as  the  ultimate  realization  of  our  hopes, 
let  us  on  our  part  desire,  whilst  this  life  is  ours,  to 
make  the  citizenship  of  earth  a  fitting  prelude  to 
this  glorious  expectation.  It  becomes  those  of  us 
who  live  in  the  country  to  welcome  all  that  is  best 
of  town  life  in  our  midst— the  higher  education,  the 
attractions  of  the  truest  art — as  well  as  earnestly  to 
strive  to  turn  back  the  wave  of  our  inner  migration 
from  the  town  to  the  country,  instead  of  from  the 
country  to  the  town.  And  for  you,  my  brothers, 


whose  life  is  mainly  in  the  city — this  city,  the  greatest 
the  world  has  ever  known — to  wage  an  unceasing 
warfare  with  slums  and  slum-life,  both  moral  and 
actual,  as  well  as  with  all  that  in  its  baseness  or 
its  greed  creates  or  maintains  the  slum-conditions 
for  your  fellows. 

Bright  gleams  of  light,  that  radiate  from  the  New 
Jerusalem,  where  the  great  King  reigns  in  the  ful- 
ness of  His  beauty  in  the  land  that  is  very  far  off, 
sparkle  on  your  horizon  amidst  much  that  is  threaten- 
ing and  dark  with  gloom.  The  library,  the  museum, 
the  art-gallery  open  to  all  (and  we  of  the  country 
envy  you  such  riches  as  these),  as  well  as  open  spaces 
rescued  from  the  abuse  of  the  few,  and  consecrated 
to  the  use  of  the  many,  bright  with  fresh  flowers 
and  enlivened  with  soul-stirring  music, — these  are  all 
signs  and  tokens  of  the  yearning  for  a  better  land  ; 
they  are  the  sacramental  externals  of  your  longing 
for  the  true  land  of  promise,  with  its  magnifical  and 
undying  surroundings. 

Yes,  there  are  signs  all  around  us,  both  in  country 
and  in  town,  of  progress  and  advance;  and  though 
these  budding  hopes  are  checked  now  and  again 
by  the  chilling  blasts  of  indifference  and  greed,  it 
is  that  they  may  take  but  deeper  root  before  they 
shoot  forth  again  with  renewed  energy  and  force. 
The  true  progress  of  the  future  must  recognize  the 
tripartite  nature  of  man  ;  it  must  not  be  content 
with  the  promotion  of  healthy  conditions  of  body  or 
of  mental  activity,  but  it  must  be  ready  to  acknow- 
ledge and  to  aid  the  soul-yearnings  for  the  better 
and  more  perfected  life  beyond. 

Amidst  the  strife  and  clash  of  human  opinion, 
one  word  in  a  double  form,  in  this  the  centre  of 
England's  life,  has  recently  come  prominently  to  the 
surface — progress  and  progressive.  God  forbid  that 
the  word  should  become  the  mere  appanage  of 

104  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

any  stereotyped  or  exclusive  views.  It  is  a  word 
that  all  conscientious  Christ-lovers  should  desire  to 
appropriate,  whatever  may  be  their  convictions  on 
imperial,  or  municipal,  or  local  affairs.  Stagnation 
is  devilish,  progress  is  divine !  A  desire  after  better- 
ment, or  a  better  country,  is  God's  best  gift  to  sinful 
man.  Thus  says  the  deepest  and  most  devout  of 
England's  poets — 

"Progress  is  man's  distinctive  mark  alone;  not  God's  and  not  the 

He  is  ;  they  are  ;  man  partly  is,  but  wholly  hopes  to  be." 




Rector  of  St.  Nicholas  Cole  Abbey,  and  Professor  of  Pastoral 
Theology  in  King's  College,  London. 

MY  text  is  taken  from  the   daily  newspaper — any 
newspaper,  any  day : — 

"Wanted,  for  a  London  Warehouse,  young  gentleman  of  good 
address,  able  to  correspond  in  French  and  German.  Thorough 
knowledge  of  book-keeping.  Shorthand  preferred.  Salary,  £$o  to 

"  Clerk  wanted.  Smart,  active,  and  quick  at  figures.  Knowledge 
of  German.  Not  afraid  of  work.  Salary,  25 s.  Apply  by  letter, 
stating  age  and  full  particulars. 

"  Wanted,  first-class  English,  French,  and  German  correspondent 
for  large  export  firm  in  the  City.  Knowledge  of  shorthand  and  slight 
Spanish  desirable.  Opportunity  for  willingness.  Commencing  salary, 
£60.  Apply,  personally,  between  n  and  I." 

I  do  not  propose  to  speak  of  what  may  be  described 
as  the  aristocracy  of  clerk-life,  such  as  bankers1  and 
brokers'  clerks.  I  must  confine  myself  to  the  ordinary 
office-clerk  of  the  city,  who  humbly  but  efficiently 
helps  to  create  much  of  its  wealth,  and  whose  con- 
dition of  life  is  fairly  indicated  by  the  above 

It  might  reasonably  be  supposed  that  men  possessed 
of  the  qualifications  desired  would  not  be  ready  to 
accept  such  salaries  as  those  here  offered.  We  should 
imagine  that  a  man  who  had  a  good  knowledge  of 

io6  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

modern  languages,  and  was  well  acquainted  with 
book-keeping,  to  say  nothing  of  shorthand,  and  of 
the  convenient  quality  of  "willingness,"  could  com- 
mand a  more  adequate  living  wage  than  £50  or  £60 
a  year.  Yet  it  is  a  fact  that  there  were  more  than 
eleven  hundred  replies  to  one  of  these  advertisements  ; 
replies  from  men  of  all  ages  and  from  almost  all 
social  grades ;  from  men  with  University  degrees, 
and  boys  just  out  of  school;  from  clerks  out  of 
employment  in  London,  and  from  hundreds  in  the 
country,  who  for  the  most  part  were  already  in  work 
there,  but  were  bitten  with  the  desire  to  get  to  the 
great  city.  A  very  large  proportion  were  willing  to 
take  less  than  the  salary  offered  ;  some  even  volun- 
teered to  do  the  work  for  nothing  for  the  first  few 

It  is  obvious  that  the  fierce  competition  which 
prevails  throughout  our  industrial  life  is  especially 
relentless  in  regard  to  the  great  army  of  London 
office-clerks.  The  effect  is  to  bring  down  the  rate 
of  payment  to  the  lowest  possible  point ;  so  much 
so,  that  there  is  even  a  class  of  employers  who  syste- 
matically take  advantage  of  those  clerks  who,  for 
the  sake  of  getting  work,  are  ready  to  put  in  three 
months  or  six  months  without  payment.  When  the 
end  of  their  free  time  is  drawing  near,  they  are 
dismissed  upon  some  trifling  pretext,  and  others 
take  their  place  on  the  like  terms,  to  be  treated  in 
due  course  in  the  same  way.  I  do  not,  of  course, 
mean  to  say  that  all,  or  most,  employers  are  of  this 
level.  I  have  not  lived  in  the  City  for  twenty  years 
without  discovering  how  large  a  proportion  of  em- 
ployers— especially  when  the  firm  is  not  a  limited 
company — are  most  considerate  and  kindly  in  their 
relations  with  their  clerks.  In  more  cases  than  might 
be  supposed,  something  of  the  old  spirit  still  remains, 
which  made  the  master  the  loyally  served  chieftain, 


and  the  clerk  the  trusted  colleague  and  friend.  But 
in  most  instances,  the  keen  pressure  of  modern  com- 
petitive conditions  renders  the  "  cash-nexus  "  the  main 
or  the  only  bond  between  a  clerk  and  the  house  he 
serves  ;  while  at  the  same  time  it  narrows  to  all  but 
vanishing-point  the  avenues  to  such  employment. 
Our  clerks  have  to  compete  for  their  places  with 
foreigners,  who  generally  have  a  better  acquaintance 
with  modern  languages,  a  lower  standard  of  living, 
less  independence,  greater  capacity  for  plodding,  and 
more  readiness  to  work  long  daily  hours,  than  men 
of  English  birth  and  English  habits.  Inevitably,  this 
foreign  competition  brings  down  the  rate  of  wages 
all  round,  while  at  the  same  time  it  tends  to  raise 
the  standard  of  capacity  and  education. 

But  the  Germans  and  Swiss  are  not  the  only 
competitors  against  the  English  clerk.  He  has 
lately  found  his  own  sisters  in  the  field.  Lady- 
clerks  are  in  many  respects  more  capable  and  effi- 
cient than  men.  They  are  neater  and  more  careful 
in  their  work  ;  they  do  not  drink  or  smoke ;  they 
are  quieter  and  less  obtrusive  in  the  office ;  and, 
speaking  generally,  they  make  better  servants  in  all 
cases  where  merely  mechanical  or  routine  work  is 
required ;  while  before  long,  when  they  have  gained 
further  experience,  they  will  be  fully  qualified  to 
take  the  chief  places.  Many  women  are  already 
better  qualified  than  men,  as  the  Government  offices 
have  discovered. 

Now,  it  would  be  absurd,  as  well  as  useless,  to 
complain  of  the  advance  of  women  into  clerk-life  as 
a  grievance  or  a  hardship.  Why  should  not  women 
earn  their  living  by  office-work,  if  they  can  do  it  as 
well  as  or  better  than  men?  Moreover,  they  must 
earn  it  somehow.  It  is  simply  a  bread-and-butter 
question.  The  struggle  for  life  has  driven  women 
out  into  the  world  of  work,  and  they  are  entitled  to 

io8  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

ask  for  fair  play,  on  equal  terms  with  men.  But, 
unfortunately,  women  do  not  get  paid  upon  equal 
terms  with  men.  A  clever  and  capable  lady-clerk 
will  do  the  same  work  for  half  or  two-thirds  the  wage 
a  man  would  require.  Hence,  the  result  of  female 
competition  is  still  further  to  reduce  the  average 
salary  of  a  clerk.  There  is  no  pretence  of  hardship 
in  the  competition  of  women ;  the  hardship  lies  in 
the  fact  that  advantage  is  taken  of  their  fewer  needs, 
and  more  frugal  ways  of  living,  to  pay  them  less  for 
similar  work — just  as  in  the  case  of  the  foreigner. 
What  is  really  needed  is  a  living  wage  for  all  alike  ; 
for  Englishmen  and  Englishwomen,  no  less  than  for 
Germans,  Swiss,  Swedes,  or  Danes.  As  things  are, 
the  girls  are  taking  their  brothers'  places  ;  and  I  know 
families  where  the  girls  work  as  clerks,  while  their 
brothers  are  "  out." 

When  the  narrow  avenue  of  entrance  upon  clerk- 
life  has  been  successfully  passed,  what  are  the  con- 
ditions of  existence  under  which  a  clerk  must  spend 
his  time  ?  It  must  be  confessed  that  they  are  neither 
very  cheerful  nor  very  hopeful.  The  hours  are  long, 
say  from  8.30  to  7  in  the  lower  or  general  class  of 
office,  for  men  ;  and  in  times  of  special  pressure  they 
may  have  to  work  far  into  the  night.  The  following 
table  refers  rather  to  warehouses  than  to  ordinary 
offices,  and  the  four  cases  taken  as  examples  of  a 
week's  hours  are  among  the  worst  I  have  collected 
during  the  last  ten  years.  But  I  could  furnish  many 
which  are  almost  as  bad. 

A. — Commencing  at  8  a.m. 

Monday,  8  a.m.  to  10  p.m. 
Tuesday          „        12    ,, 
Wednesday     ,,        12    ,, 
Thursday        ,,        10    „ 
Friday  „        10.30 

Frequently  as  late  as  I  a.m.,  and  occasionally  2.30  a.m 



Monday,  8  a.m.  to  9.30  p.m. 
Tuesday          ,,      n         ,, 
Wednesday     ,,      n         ,, 
Thursday         „       II          ,, 
Friday  „       10         ,, 

B.  left  on  account  of  refusing  to  work  after  II  p.m. 


Monday,  8.30  a.m.  to  8.30  p.m. 
Tuesday          ,,          12         ,, 
Wednesday     ,,          12         ,, 
Thursday        „  9-3°    >» 

Friday  ,,  9         ,, 

Average  time  for  five  months  in  the  year.     Working  to  midnight 
quite  a  common  occurrence. 

D. — Commencing  at  7*45- 
Monday,  7.45  a.m.  to  8.30  p.m. 
Tuesday  ,,         11.30   ,, 

Wednesday  „  II  ,, 
Thursday  ,,  10  ,, 
Friday  „  9  „ 

Frequently  worked  up  to  midnight. 

Often  the  clerk's  office  is  ill-ventilated,  and  gas- 
lighted  during  the  greater  part  of  the  day.  The 
stooping  position,  and  the  sedentary  nature  of  his 
labour,  are  not  good  for  his  health  or  his  eyes.  More- 
over, the  work  of  an  office  is  not  of  a  character  in 
which  ordinary  men  and  women  can  take  any  real 
interest.  An  exact  calculating  or  scribbling  machine 
could  do  it  as  well.  Certainly  in  this  case  the  labourer 
can  have  but  little  joy  in  his  work  ;  though  a  con- 
scientious clerk  will  even  find  some  pleasure  in  the 
neatness,  accuracy,  and  despatch  with  which  his  me- 
chanical task  is  accomplished.  But  for  the  average 
clerk,  the  dreadful  drudgery  and  dulness  of  his  daily 
work  and  surroundings  must  have  their  inevitable 
effect  upon  character.  We  cannot  be  surprised  if  the 
average  man  seeks  relief  and  excitement  in  betting 
and  gambling,  finds  some  solace  in  drink,  or  looks 
for  his  society  in  the  bars  or  in  the  streets.  Some 

no  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

interesting  papers  were  published  a  year  or  two  back 
in  the  British  Weekly,  under  the  rather  claptrap  title 
of  "  Tempted  London."  The  writers  of  these  sketches 
got  together  a  vast  amount  of  information,  very 
accurate  on  the  whole,  as  to  the  conditions  of  clerk- 
life.  But  I  cannot  agree  with  them  in  their  low 
estimate  of  the  general  tone  of  morality  among  the 
clerks  of  the  City,  in  the  midst  of  whom  I  have  lived 
and  worked  for  the  past  twenty  years.  There  are 
good,  bad,  and  indifferent  among  them,  as  there  are 
in  any  other  class  of  men  and  women.  But  I  believe 
the  general  tone  is  very  much  higher  than  was  indi- 
cated by  the  able  Nonconformist  weekly.  I  have  been 
amazed  to  find  what  a  good  fellow  the  city  clerk  is, 
take  him  all  round.  He  has  his  faults,  of  course,  like 
the  rest  of  us.  But  though  his  surroundings  are  less 
squalid  and  hideous  than  those  of  an  East-End  or 
South-London  slum,  they  are  dull  and  dismal  to  a 
degree  that  makes  some  of  us  fearful  that,  in  the  same 
environment,  we  should  develop  a  less  creditable 
average  than  the  ordinary  clerk. 

And  for  this  species  of  crank-labour,  what  recom- 
pense ?  Well,  if  our  clerk  is  lucky,  he  may  rise  to  a 
salary  of  ;£i2O,  even  £150,  a  year.  If  he  is  less  for- 
tunate, he  may  find  himself  out  of  employment  at 
more  or  less  frequent  intervals,  at  the  close  of  which 
he  may  have  to  begin  again  at  the  foot  of  the  ladder. 
And  when  he  grows  old,  he  finds,  to  his  bitter  sorrow, 
that  an  old  clerk,  like  an  old  curate,  is  of  less  value 
in  the  market  than  a  young  one ;  that  he  is  not 
wanted,  that  competition  leaves  no  room  for  him. 
He  may  be  married,  for  clerks  do  marry  on  ^100  a 
year,  their  wives  doing  a  little  dressmaking  or  mil- 
linery, or  addressing  envelopes  and  wrappers  at  three 
shillings  or  so  the  thousand,  to  add  to  the  scanty  in- 
come. Sometimes  a  firm,  after  a  bad  season's  trade, 
will  cut  down  expenses  by  ruthlessly  dismissing 


older  servants  who  have  the  largest  salaries,  and 
putting-  younger  men  in  their  places  at  a  smaller 
"screw."  The  clerk  has  seldom  any  future  before 
him  ;  he  thinks  himself  fortunate  if  he  can  only  keep 
the  position  and  the  pittance  he  has  obtained.  For 
such  as  he,  there  is  no  career  in  this  country  ;  and  it 
is  not  surprising  to  learn  that  South  Africa  is  absorb- 
ing more  and  more  young  fellows  from  the  City,  and 
from  elsewhere  also,  as  the  struggle  grows  fiercer 
year  by  year.  I  would  not  have  it  supposed  that  I 
believe  the  common  cant  against  u  early  marriages." 
On  the  contrary,  I  would  gladly  see  more  of  our 
young  clerks  married,  at  an  even  earlier  age  than  is 
customary.  But,  then,  they  must  be  content  to  accept 
a  labourer's  standard  of  living,  to  send  their  children 
to  the  Board  School,  and  to  renounce  the  heresy  of 
the  top-hat  for  good  and  all.  They  must  choose,  in 
fact,  between  "  maintaining  their  position,"  while 
shut  out  from  the  happiness  of  home  life,  and  entering 
upon  the  latter  at  the  cost  of  sacrificing  the  former. 
Often,  indeed,  such  a  choice  is  not  open  to  them,  for 
many  business  houses  rigidly  apply  the  test  of  the 
top-hat  and  the  frock-coat  to  their  clerks. 

It  cannot  be  considered  creditable  to  our  London 
life  that  so  large  a  number  of  men  and  women  are 
compelled  to  an  existence  such  as  I  have  outlined. 
Yet  I  have  no  cut-and-dried  remedy  to  propose,  no 
short-and-easy  solution  of  the  problem  to  suggest. 
The  symptoms  are  obvious  to  even  a  casual  observer  ; 
the  causes  lie  deep  in  the  social  and  economic  con- 
ditions of  our  present  complex  life.  Emigration,  so 
confidently  put  forward  as  a  remedy  in  some  quarters, 
may  be  well  enough  for  individuals,  though  probably 
those  who  get  on  well  in  South  Africa  are  just  the 
men  who  would  have  done  well  at  home  ;  but  emigra- 
tion does  not  and  cannot  touch  the  problem  itself. 
The  successful  emigrant  clerk  leaves  that  behind  him, 


and  the  failure  returns  to  it.  Palliatives  there  may 
be,  and  at  one  or  two  of  these  I  will  glance  in  con- 

i.  Some  sort  of  organization  among  clerks  might 
possibly  do  for  them  what  the  Trade  Unions  have 
done  for  the  working-men  of  England.  There  is, 
indeed,  a  Clerks'  Union  ;  but  the  conditions  are  far 
more  complex  and  difficult  than  those  which  prevail 
in  regard  to  the  organization  of  skilled  labour.  So 
long  as  the  army  of  unemployed  clerks,  and  of  those 
seeking  to  become  clerks,  is  so  gigantic,  there  is  little 
to  be  done  by  this  means.  Perhaps  the  most  that 
can  be  hoped  for  is  preparation  for  future  action.  In 
such  a  case,  organization  is  always  strength. 

2.  Something  might  be  done  in  the  way  of  extend- 
ing the  principle  of  the  Factory  Acts,  or  the  Shop 
Hours  Labour  Acts,  to  offices  and  warehouses.     But 
unless  a  careful  system  of  inspection  is  adopted,  such 
legislation  will  be  a  dead   letter;  just  as  Sir  John 
Lubbock's  first  Shop  Hours  Act  was  in  danger  of 
becoming,  had  not  a   small   number  of  determined 
men  formed  themselves  into  a  committee,  employed 
inspectors  of  their  own,  and  instituted  prosecutions,  so 
saving  the  Act,  and  ultimately  securing  its  extension. 

3.  The  writer  in  the  British   Weekly  was  entirely 
right  when  he  pointed  out  that  parents  are  largely  to 
blame  for  the  present  state  of  things.     It  is  absolutely 
true  that  among  average  middle-class  parents  "  there 
is  too  much  regard  for  '  the  office,'  and  an  exaggerated 
contempt  for   '  trade.' '      School-teachers  can  tell  us 
what  it  is  which  such  parents  desire  for  their  children  ; 
not  education,  in  any  real  sense,  but  quickness  at 
figures,  and  similar  clerical  qualifications.     I  have  no 
hesitation  in  saying  that  a  clerk  would  do  better  to 
make  his  son  an  artisan,  or  a  tram-car  driver,  than  let 
him  follow  his  own  calling.     Let  parents  in  the  country 
do  all  they  can  to  keep  their  children  there,  rather 


than  send  them  to  swell  the  competing  horde  of  ill- 
paid  London  clerks ;  and  above  all,  let  them  never 
allow  their  sons  to  come  here  "  on  spec,"  on  the  off- 
chance  of  getting  employment.  Better,  far  better,  let 
them  work  in  the  shop  or  the  fields  at  home. 

4.  Much  may  be  done  in  the  direction  of  brighten- 
ing and  elevating  clerk-life  by  the  foundation  of  clubs, 
open  to  men  and  women  alike,  on  the  lines  of  the 
institution  which,  as  many  of  you  know,  I  have  spent 
my  best  years  in  establishing  not  far  from  this  church. 
Most  of  the  societies  and  institutions  for  young  people 
fail,  to  my  thinking,  owing  to  the  narrow  and  dis- 
trustful lines  upon  which  they  are  conducted ;  pro- 
viding rather  what  their  promoters  think  young 
people  ought  to  want,  than  what,  as  a  fact,  young 
people  do  want.  I  trust  that  the  success  of  the  St. 
Nicholas  Club  may  lead  to  the  establishment  of  many 
like  institutions.  But  they  must  be  small,  not  too 
large,  or  they  will  fail  of  their  main  objects. 

I  have  given  a  lecture  rather  than  a  sermon.  But 
I  do  not  think  that,  on  that  account,  what  has  been 
said  is  out  of  harmony  with  the  aim  and  objects  of  a 
Christian  Social  Union,  or  with  the  teaching  of  that 
Divine  Master,  Who  spent  the  greater  portion  of  His 
earthly  life  in  ministering  to  the  common  needs  of 
His  human  brothers. 



Warden  of  Toynbee  Hall. 

"  Jerusalem  is  built  as  a  city  which  is  at  unity  with  itself." — Ps,  cxxii.  3. 


A  FOLLOWER  of  Christ  is  always  duty  bound.  He 
is  here  to  serve.  He  is  a  man  with  a  mission. 

A  Christian  cannot  say,  "I  will  do  what  I  like 
with  my  own  ;  I  can  enjoy  my  life  or  end  my  life." 
Christians  glory  in  being  their  brother's  keeper,  and 
are  always  about  their  Father's  business.  Christians, 
because  of  this  consciousness  of  social  membership, 
have  always  looked  on  to  a  kingdom,  a  church,  or  a 

Buddhists  look  to  dreamless  ease,  to  release  from 
the  toil  of  loving  ;  Mohammedans  look  to  a  paradise, 
a  garden  of  delight,  an  eternity  of  being  served ; 
Christians  look  to  the  new  Jerusalem,  to  the  city  of 
God,  with  its  busy  crowds,  its  complex  duties,  its 
grandeur  and  its  glory. 

What  men  hope  for,  that  they  become,  and  men  are 
what  their  aspirations  are.  What  men  look  for,  that 
they  work  for,  and  prophets  try  to  establish  their  own 


Nations  whose  golden  age  is  in  the  past  make  no 
progress,  and  history  concerns  itself  only  with  people 
who  strive  to  reach  ideals  beyond  their  grasp. 

c<  Better  fifty  years  of  Europe  than  a  cycle  of  Cathay." 

Christians  who  hope  for  a  city  of  God,  who  look 
to  a  society  whose  members  will  live  by  loving — 
Christians  with  this  ideal  are  always  trying  to  make 
a  state,  a  Church,  a  city,  after  its  likeness.  They 
vote,  they  serve  public  offices,  they  are  generous,  that 
they  may  make  London,  Bristol,  Manchester,  their 
city,  like  the  city  to  which  they  look.  They,  when 
they  are  about  the  city's  business,  are  about  their 
Father's  business. 

But  many  who  call  themselves  Christian  neglect 
civic  duties.  They  serve,  perhaps,  their  Church,  they 
are  members  of  some  charitable  society,  but  they  are 
indifferent  to  the  city  government. 

This  neglect  is,  I  believe,  largely  due  to  the  absence 
of  a  social  ideal.  Practical  modern  men  have  no 
visions  such  as  those  of  Isaiah,  St.  John,  or  Rienzi. 
They  have  no  modern  equivalent  to  the  holy 
mountain  where  the  lion  and  the  lamb  lie  together, 
or  to  the  city  into  which  nothing  enters  that  defileth 
or  maketh  a  lie.  They  have  no  pattern  city  in  the 
heavens,  and  therefore  do  not  strive  to  make  its 
likeness  on  earth. 

Modern  teaching  does  not  sufficiently  cultivate  the 
imagination.  It  holds  that  the  chief  thing  is  to  be 
practical ;  that  the  boy  of  fifteen  must  take  up  the 
technical  or  business  training  of  his  life ;  that  there  is 
no  time  to  develop  powers  of  dreaming,  and  that  the 
use  of  the  imagination,  in  pictures,  music,  and  poetry, 
is  a  luxury  for  the  rich  and  idle.  Art  has  no  place 
in  industrial  education  ;  it  is  not  taken  seriously. 

The  teaching  is  wrong  ;  the  imagination  has  a  ma- 
terial use.  "  It  was  for  want  of  imagination  England 

ii6  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

lost  America,"  and  it  is  for  the  same  want  that  mer- 
chants and  workmen  now  miss  their  opportunities. 
In  commerce  the  visible  is  not  the  eternal  result. 
It  is  by  faith  that  business  is  made,  and  haste  for 
immediate  gain  often  destroys  trade.  It  is,  too,  for 
want  of  the  trained  imagination  that  so  many  Chris- 
tians neglect  their  civic  duties.  They  have  no  social 
ideal  to  which  Christ  directs  their  march,  no  city  in 
the  heaven  carefully  fashioned  by  thought. 

Some,  therefore,  waste  their  strength  as  they  cry 
for  a  state  possible  perhaps  in  the  moon,  and  elabo- 
rate schemes  which  shrivel  up  under  a  moment's  cross- 
examination.  Such  good  people  sacrifice,  indeed, 
their  Isaacs  and  hinder  God's  promises. 

Some  settle  in  suburbs  far  off  from  the  call  to  duty 
which  rises  from  the  ill.  housed  and  the  ill  fed.  They 
think  most  of  their  rights,  demand  the  service  of 
the  local  boards  to  secure  their  quiet,  and  keep  off 
hospitals  and  the  poor  from  their  doors.  They  take 
short  leases,  and  escape  trouble  by  moving.  "A 
modern  city  is  the  embodiment  of  indefinite  change, 
and  citizens  make  idols  of  their  domestic  privacy  and 
private  luxuriousness."  Many  do  no  civic  duties,  and 
satisfy  Christ's  inspired  instincts  by  gifts  to  the  poor 
more  or  less  carefully  adjusted  to  their  income. 

And  of  the  few  who  nobly  serve  the  city,  many  find 
the  service  dull  and  weary.  They  serve  because  it  is 
a  duty,  not  because  they  are  constrained  by  an  in- 
visible power  to  an  invisible  end,  and  "he  gives 
nothing  but  worthless  gold  who  gives  from  a  sense 
of  duty/' 

The  failure  comes  because  modern  Christians  have 
not  elaborated  an  ideal  of  Christian  society.  They 
use  old  ideals  formed  in  other  times,  and  talk  of  a 
Church,  of  a  heaven,  but  are  not  moved  thereby. 
Ideals  must  be  fashioned  out  of  present  experience. 
The  city  in  heaven  must  rest  on  the  earth.  Things 


we  hope  for  must  be  made  out  of  things  we  know. 
The  imagination  must  work  with  the  actual. 

Let  us,  therefore,  spend  a  few  minutes  in  thinking 
out  a  society,  a  city,  in  which  men  with  our  experience 
and  our  knowledge  might  live  Christ's  life.  If  we  see 
beyond  the  bound  of  the  waste,  the  city  of  God,  we 
shall  surely  work  to  establish  London  in  its  likeness. 
We  shall  serve  our  city.  Our  civic  duties  will  be  our 
religious  duties  ;  our  liturgies  will  be  not  only  those 
sung  by  choirs,  but,  as  in  the  Greek  city,  liturgies 
will  again  mean  the  performance  by  the  citizens  of 
public  duties.  A  pure  liturgy,  as  St.  James  says,  is 
others'  service. 

How,  then,  shall  we  think  of  the  city  of  the  future  ? 
It  is  a  city  which  is  at  unity  with  itself. 

i.  Its  past  will  be  at  unity  with  its  present.  They 
who  walk  the  streets  in  one  age  will  be  familiar  with 
those  who,  in  past  ages,  shaped  the  streets  and  wrote 
their  thoughts  in  stone.  They  will  know  how  the 
city  grew — by  what  enterprise,  by  what  suffering,  by 
what  sacrifice,  by  what  failure.  They  will  move  about 
the  streets  encompassed  by  a  crowd  of  witnesses,  de- 
termined themselves  to  do  something  worthy  of  their 
surroundings.  They  will  talk  of  Caesar,  Charlemagne, 
Alfred,  and  Cromwell,  rather  than  of  athletes,  mil- 
lionaires, and  music-hall  singers.  Their  bookstalls 
will  be  loaded  with  books  which  chasten  and  kindle, 
rather  than  with  "  bits  "  and  "  sketches  "  which  con- 
found, their  intelligence.  They  will  be  interested  in 
the  growth  of  thought,  and  keen  to  admire  what  is 
beautiful.  Their  minds  will  be  nourished  on  the 
Bible,  on  Shakespeare,  and  on  Plato,  rather  than  on 
the  writings  of  the  realists  of  the  human  dustbin. 
They  will  be  concerned  that  their  public  buildings 
and  monuments  shall  be  noble  and  impressive,  their 
private  houses  pure  and  simple  ;  so  that  every  one, 
in  the  common  possession  of  splendid  and  historic 


monuments,  may  have  the  self-respect  which  comes 
to  a  citizen  who  is  of  no  mean  city. 

In  the  Christian  ideal  society  there  will  be  no 
ignorant  classes,  no  division  between  the  educated 
and  uneducated  ;  none  low  for  want  of  a  high  calling, 
none  mean  for  want  of  noble  traditions,  none  dull  for 
want  of  interest.  Knowledge  will  flow  over  the  whole 
as  the  waters  cover  the  sea. 

2.  The  city  will  have  its  parts  at  unity  with  one 
another.     The  East  End  and  the  West  End  will  be 
equally  attractive,  equally  well  lighted,  cleansed,  and 
built.     Every  part  will  have  its  bountiful  streams  of 
waters  flowing  through  the  public  baths,  and  making 
lakes  in  the  parks.     Everywhere  the  air  will  be  so 
clear  that  flowers  will  bloom  on  the  window-ledges. 
Every  child  will  have  its  playground  in  the  sunshine, 
and  every  old  person  his  season  for  quiet  enjoyment. 
Workrooms   will   be   as   healthy  as   drawing-rooms. 
Hospitals  will   be    arranged  for  the   convenience  of 
the  sick  ;  libraries,  museums,  and  music-halls  for  the 
recreation  of  the  strong.      Unity  in   a   city  is   im- 
possible where,  as   in    East   London,  the   buildings 
are  mean,  the  streets  ill  kept  and  ill  lighted ;  where 
children   have   to  play  in   the   gutter,  and   the   old 
linger  in  the  dirt  and  noise-laden  air ;  where  cleanli- 
ness is  an  impossible  luxury. 

In  the  Christian  city  there  will  be  no  division 
between  east  and  west,  between  the  washed  and  un- 
washed, no  rich  or  poor  quarter ;  all  the  citizens  will 
have  equal  opportunities  for  growth,  for  enjoyment, 
for  cleanliness,  and  for  quiet. 

3.  The  people  of  the  city  will  be  at  unity  together. 
All  will  co-operate  in  its  keeping  and  making.     It 
will  no   longer   be   that  some  will  give  and   others 
take  ;   that  a  few  leaders   and   officials   collect  and 
direct  the  expenditure  of  taxes,  while  the  mass  of  the 
citizens  are  absorbed  in   private  concerns.      In  the 


Christian  city  all  will  give  of  their  thought  and 
their  time — workmen,  professional  people,  merchants, 
tradesmen,  women.  They  will  thus  feel  that  the 
city  is  their  own ;  they  will  see  in  its  grandeur  and 
activities  their  own  wills  writ  large.  Each  individual 
will  have  a  dignity,  a  moral  and  religious  fervour,  as, 
having  given  his  service,  he  looks  around  on  the 
glory  and  says,  "  This  is  mine." 

There  will  be  in  the  Christian  society  no  governed 
and  governing  classes.  No  outside  body  like  the 
slaves  of  the  ancient  city,  like  the  melancholy  hands 
who  pass  from  factory  to  sleeping-place  along  the 
streets  of  a  modern  city.  In  the  Christian  city  each 
will  be  bound  to  all,  and  all  to  each. 

Thus  I  suggest,  as  a  Christian  ideal  fit  for  the 
time,  the  thought  of  a  city  at  unity  with  itself.  But 
I  suggest  only  that  you  may  think.  A  man's  own 
thoughts  are  better  than  those  he  borrows. 

Think,  therefore,  you  who  acknowledge  yourselves 
to  be  members  of  Christ ;  you  who,  as  His  followers, 
are  sent  to  be  saviours  and  helpers — "  to  create  a 
household  and  a  fatherland,  a  city  and  a  state." 
Shape  in  your  minds  the  city  where  Christ  will  reign. 
Piece  it  together  out  of  your  greater  knowledge  of 
men  and  manners,  of  wants  and  remedies,  of  ways 
and  means,  as  St.  John  out  of  his  limited  knowledge 
pieced  together  the  new  Jerusalem.  Build  in  thought, 
out  of  the  materials  which  lie  around,  an  ideal  of  a 
Christian  society.  What  you  look  for,  that  you  will 
try  to  make.  The  artist  is  constrained  to  force  out  of 
the  hard  marble  the  vision  which  is  before  his  mind. 
If  you  have  before  your  mind  a  pattern  city,  then 
you  will  be  constrained  to  make  this  city  its  copy. 
Civic  duties  will  become  religious  duties.  You  will 
give  up  private  ends  to  work  on  boards  and  councils, 
repeating  in  your  hearts  that  cry  which  has  always 
moved  the  world,  "  I  must ;  it  is  the  will  of  God." 

i2o  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 


Yesterday  I  tried  to  draw  the  thoughts  of  my 
hearers  to  a  city  at  unity  with  itself.  I  encouraged 
them  to  imagine — using  the  material  around — an  ideal 
city.  Virtue,  as  Jowett  says,  flows  from  ideals.  "  But," 
he  adds, "  most  men  live  in  a  corner,  and  see  but  a  little 
way  beyond  their  own  home  or  place  of  occupation. 
They  do  not  '  lift  up  their  eyes  to  the  hills  ; '  they  are 
not  awake  when  the  dawn  appears."  Yesterday  I 
tried,  from  the  tower  of  speculation,  to  suggest  the  city 
of  the  future.  It  was  good  for  the  disciples  to  see 
their  Master  transfigured.  It  is  good  for  us  to  see 
our  city  transfigured,  its  organization  and  its  govern- 
ment fitted  to  the  Christian  life.  But  it  is  not  good 
only  to  stand  and  gaze. 

Below  the  mountain  where  Christ  was  transfigured 
were  His  mean  and  suffering  brother-men.  In  front 
of  disciples  pleading  to  stay  and  worship,  was  the  dull 
drudgery  of  daily  doing.  It  is  not  enough  to  have 
ideals  ;  we  must  act.  A  vision  is  good  for  stirring 
the  pulses,  for  rousing  the  enthusiasm,  but  it  is 
work  which  wins  the  victory.  Love  precedes  labour  ; 
but  if  love  is  worthy,  labour  follows. 

Early  in  the  century  a  few  workmen  saw  a  vision 
of  trades  unionism.  They  felt  the  impulse  and  started 
a  great  movement ;  but  the  victory  of  trades  unionism 
has  been  won  by  painstaking  and  detail-loving 
secretaries  and  officials. 

Dante  and  the  poets  saw  in  their  dreams  United 
Italy.  They  roused  the  hopes  and  passions  of  their 
countrymen  ;  but  it  was  the  daily  doing — the  hard 
drudgery  of  Cavour,  Mazzini,  and  Garibaldi — which 
made  Italy. 

We  may  have  visions  of  an  ideal  social  state, 
we  may  be  roused  by  the  thought  of  a  society  in 
which  Christ  will  live  ;  but  it  is  quiet  doing — patient 


reformers — plodding  patriots,  who  will  make  the  new 

For  many  reasons,  steady,  dull  work  has  become 
distasteful.  Burdens  once  borne  by  men  are  now 
borne  by  machinery  ;  pain  has  been  eased  by  skill ; 
life  has  been  made  smoother.  There  is  not  the  same 
call  to  effort,  the  same  stimulus  to  activity  ;  there  are 
more  attractions  for  leisure,  more  possibilities  of 
pleasure.  Men  regard  work  as  hardship  ;  they  resent 
the  restraint  of  daily  doing,  and  look  for  short  cuts  to 
idleness,  and  heroic  remedies  in  difficulties.  A  real 
danger  of  our  time  is  dislike  of  drudgery.  Citizens 
let  go  the  helm  of  government,  because  it  is  trying  to 
hold  on  through  long  seasons  of  calms.  They  will 
not  patiently  day  by  day  go  into  details,  because  the 
work  is  dull. 

Now,  the  whole  force  of  religious  motive  has  gone 
into  sweeping  a  room,  and  made  the  act  divine.  And 
the  whole  force  of  religious  motive  may  also  go  into 
the  smallest  and  meanest  of  civic  duties. 

Christians  inspired  by  Christ  look  for  a  city  where 
there  will  be  room  for  loving,  and  they  are  driven  to 
take  it  by  force ;  but  Christians  are  also  restrained  by 
Christ.  They  are  made  to  watch  and  wait ;  to  gather 
up  the  fragments ;  to  go  home  and  be  subject  to  its 
common  duties. 

Christ  who  rouses  and  makes  men  glow,  is  also 
Christ  who  holds  men  back  and  puts  the  would-be 
hero  to  serve  a  child.  He  constrains  and  He  also 
restrains.  The  Founder  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven 
is  the  Preacher  of  the  Beatitudes.  He  who  wore  a 
crown  bore  a  yoke. 

We  are  Christians  in  a  Christian  land.  We  are 
eager  to  live  our  Master's  life — keen  to  shape  a 
city  where  nothing  shall  hinder,  and  all  shall  help, 
that  life.  Fire  is  in  our  hearts,  passion  is  aglow, 
as  we  think  of  what  may  be,  of  what  shall  be.  But 

122  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

that  fire  and  that  passion    must  be  put  into  daily 

What  must  we  do  ? 

1.  Every  one  should  learn  about  the  government 
of  his  own  city.     Few  here,  I  expect,  could  pass  a 
simple  examination  in  the  functions  of  guardians  and 
vestrymen,  or  in  the  work  of  London  boards  and  coun- 
cils.    Few  know  the  powers  in  their  own  hands  to 
straighten  the  path  of  the  poor,  to  open  the  eyes  of 
the  ignorant,  to  heal  the  sick  and  comfort  the  sad. 

Every  one,  therefore,  should  master  one  of  the  many 
books  which  give  the  information ;  every  one  should 
ask  questions  till  he  knows  who  is  responsible  for 
making  the  city  pleasant  for  habitation,  and  a  help  to 
its  inhabitants  in  living  a  Christian  life. 

If  every  one  had  this  knowledge,  strength  would  not 
be  wasted  in  vain  grumbling  at  neglect  or  at  abuse. 
Every  one  knowing  his  part  in  the  government,  the 
grumble  would  only  awake  the  echo,  "  Thou  art  the 
man."  Neither  would  strength  be  so  often  diverted 
to  sectional  efforts,  religious  or  philanthropic.  They 
who  knew  their  power  to  shape  a  state  would  not  so 
readily  start  a  society,  or  dissent  from  the  nation  to 
make  a  Church  in  the  nation.  The  masters  of  the 
whole  country  have  no  need  of  preserves. 

Let,  then,  Christians  set  themselves  to  learn  how 
the  city  is  governed.  The  duty  is  not  duller  than 
that  done  by  saints  who  copied  manuscripts  ;  it  is  not 
greater  drudgery  than  is  done  by  missionaries  who 
learn  the  Chinese  alphabet.  Let  Christians  whose 
thoughts  glow,  thinking  of  what  they  will  do,  just 
quietly  learn  what  they  can  do. 

2.  Let    every    one    consider    what    qualities    are 
wanted  in  city  rulers.    Integrity,  industry,  intelligence, 
good  will,  perseverance.     Yes,  but  rarer   and   more 
important  are  business  qualities.      A  strange  com- 
bination is  the  good  man  of  business.     There  are 


many  imitation  business  men.  These  put  punctuality 
before  charity,  accuracy  before  truth,  doing  before 
service.  They  pay  regard  to  figures,  and  treat  reports 
as  sacred  ritual.  They  are  ready  to  measure  up 
heaven  with  a  foot-rule.  They  have  put  on  some  of 
the  business  man's  clothes ;  but  the  real  good  man  of 
business  is  he  who  by  adventure  and  caution,  by 
spending  and  by  saving,  by  use  of  imagination  and  by 
care  of  detail,  by  knowledge  of  men  and  by  power  of 
control,  creates  and  directs  vast  operations.  These 
are  the  men  who  have  made  the  wealth  of  England. 
These  are  the  men  who  made  the  greatness  of  the 
mediaeval  cities,  who  directed  their  broad  policy  and 
ordered  their  magnificent  growth.  Such  men  are 
still  in  our  midst,  but  rarely  among  the  city  rulers ; 
and  it  is,  perhaps,  bad  business  rather  than  a  bad 
system  which  makes  local  government  so  costly  and 
improvement  so  difficult. 

Artists  and  artisans,  professional  men  and  traders, 
men  and  women  of  high  purpose,  are  wanted ;  but 
Christ  calls  also  the  merchant  princes  to  leave  their 
own  offices,  and  put  some  of  the  power  by  which  they 
make  fortunes  into  making  a  city.  He  calls  those  to 
whom  he  has  given  talents  for  organizing  and  for 
creating,  to  use  them  on  boards  and  councils.  He 
calls  the  successors  of  the  Canynges,  the  Heriots, 
the  Greshams,  to  establish  a  city  in  the  twentieth 
century  worthy  of  the  world's  greater  knowledge  and 
more  worthy  of  our  Christian  profession. 

3.  Every  one  must  be  willing  to  fill  a  city  office. 
It  is  often  remarked  that  the  same  names  recur  as 
justices,  guardians,  councillors,  vestrymen.  A  com- 
paratively small  number  of  persons  fill  all  the  offices 
of  government.  This  ought  not  to  be.  This  would 
not  be,  if  Christians  felt  called  by  Christ  to  civic 
duties  ;  if  they  looked  to  a  city  where  men  and  things 
would  be  ordered  according  to  His  will ;  if  they  heard 

124  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

Christ  telling  them  to  be  vestrymen,  guardians,  coun- 
cillors, as  plainly  as  St.  Paul  heard  the  call  to  preach, 
or  Luther  the  order  to  take  his  stand,  or  Joan  of  Arc 
the  command  to  arm  and  lead  the  soldiers  of  the 

Christ  does  so  call.  He  opens  our  eyes  to  see  at 
hand  a  kingdom  of  heaven,  a  city  of  God.  He  rouses 
us,  as  we  watch  the  melancholy  faces  of  the  poor,  as 
we  hear  the  cry  of  the  unemployed,  as  we  walk  the 
depressing  streets  of  East  London  and  meet  broken 
men  and  women — human  beings  crushed  in  human 
machinery — to  force  the  way  for  a  society  in  which  His 
spirit  may  have  full  play.  He  kindles  our  hopes  for 
a  city  in  which  all  shall  speak  thoughts  learnt  from 
God,  and  all  see  visions  revealed  now  only  to  the  few  ; 
in  which  there  shall  be  no  more  an  infant  of  days, 
nor  an  old  man  that  hath  not  filled  his  days  ;  in  which 
none  shall  hurt  nor  destroy.  Christ  shows  us  what 
may  be.  At  our  doors  are  the  means  of  making  the 
may-be  the  must-be.  A  place  on  a  local  board,  or 
membership  in  a  society,  is  the  weapon  ready  forged 
for  the  knight  of  modern  days.  With  this  he  may 
cut  down  abuses  and  open  the  way  for  what  is  good. 
Any  one  can  take  up  such  a  weapon. 

Christ  calls  from  His  city,  and  pointing  to  the 
road  He  trod  and  the  cross  He  bore,  tells  us  in 
patience  to  do  the  next  thing,  to  take  up  the  weapon 
which  is  ready,  the  duty  which  lies  at  our  hand — any 
humble  service  in  shaping  the  city  we  live  in  to  be 
the  city  of  His  people. 

4.  Above  boards  and  councils  is  public  opinion. 
Every  individual  is  its  maker.  By  his  talk,  by  his 
acts,  by  his  thoughts,  each  individual  is  helping  to 
raise  up  a  ruler  who  will  bless  or  curse  his  city.  It  is 
not  Acts  of  Parliament,  nor  boards,  nor  councils,  which 
now  rule ;  it  is  the  conduct,  the  words,  the  deeds  of 
citizens,  the  makers  of  public  opinion. 


The  civic  duty,  therefore,  which  lies  on  every  one  is 
to  think  clearly  what  is  wanted  if  the  city  life  is  to 
represent  the  Christian  life ;  to  restrain  himself  from 
all  extravagant  talk  in  abuse  or  in  hope  ;  to  live 
decently,  soberly,  and  honestly;  to  be  reverent  in 
the  presence  of  things  above,  of  things  equal  and  of 
things  beneath ;  to  despise  no  one  and  to  be  despised 
by  no  one;  to  take' no  bribes  and  surrender  no  rights; 
to  protest  against  smoke,  dirt,  ugliness  ;  to  boldly 
rebuke  vice ;  to  help  with  heart  and  purse  some  one 
neighbour  who  is  wretched  and  poor.  Thus  may 
every  one  make  a  public  opinion  more  powerful  for 
righteousness  than  any  king. 

And  if,  hearing  this,  some  one  says,  "  O  Lord,  I 
would  do  some  great  thing,  upset  some  abuse,  inau- 
gurate some  reform  ;  I  would  exalt  Thy  name,"  the 
answer  surely  comes,  "  Inasmuch  as  ye  did  it  to  the 
least  of  these,  ye  did  it  unto  Me  ; "  and  the  loyal  fol- 
lower will  go  home  to  set  there  an  example  of  godly 
life,  and  for  others'  sake  try  "  to  think  clearly,  feel 
deeply,  and  bear  fruit  well." 

Enthusiasm  and  drudgery  are  the  means  by  which 
great  ends  are  achieved.  Christ  from  the  right  hand 
of  God  rouses  enthusiasm,  Christ  from  the  cross 
points  to  the  long  path  of  drudgery.  Christians  stand- 
ing on  Immanuers  land  look  into  the  city  where  their 
Master  rules,  and  then  take  up  their  cross.  Christians 
are  at  once  kings  and  servants,  enthusiasts  and 
drudges.  There  can  be  no  advance  to  that  city,  no 
realization  here  of  the  Christian  society,  unless  Chris- 
tians endure  hardship,  rebuke,  and  disappointment  as 
they  try  to  fashion  things  that  are  after  the  likeness 
of  things  that  shall  be.  But  they  who  believe  in  their 
Master  have  the  enthusiasm  which  can  endure  the 
drudgery  of  inconvenient  meetings,  of  weary  commit- 
tees, of  working  the  heavy  machinery  by  which  the 
city  is  slowly  improved.  They  have  the  faith  which 

126  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

can  transfigure  civic  duties  into  religious  service,  and 
patience  into  passion.  They  will  go  down  from  the 
mount  of  transfiguration,  from  the  vision  of  the  glorified 
and  glistering  city,  not  to  cry  and  shout,  as  if  abuses 
would  fall  as  the  walls  of  Jericho  fell.  They  will  go 
rather  to  take  up  some  neglected  duty,  some  unnoticed 
work,  and  persist,  without  praise  or  profit,  without 
striving  or  crying,  content  if  they  may  add  some  one 
out-of-sight  brick  to  the  city,  which  under  the  Master's 
hand  is  surely  and  silently  growing. 



Author  of  "  The  Laws  of  Eternal  Life,"  etc. 

WHAT  the  Church  has  done  for  London  might 
perhaps  have  been  a  better  title.  For  we  want  no 
new  or  sensational  methods,  only  for  the  Church  to 
persevere  in  her  own  proper  work. 

I.  The  first  thing,  then,  the  Church  has  to  do  is, 
in  the  face  of  competing  sects  and  class  distinctions, 
to  bear  witness  to  the  essential  equality  and  unity  of 
the  whole  people.  This  she  does  by  means  of  her 
sacrament  of  Infant  Baptism.  She  asserts  that  the 
Head  of  every  man  is  Christ.  That  it  is  Christ  Who  is 
the  Head,  and  that  it  is  of  every  man  that  He  is  the 
Head.  Every  little  human  being  born  into  London 
is  claimed  as  being  the  equal  with  every  other  little 
human  being.  No  matter  whether  the  parents  be 
rich  or  poor,  good  or  bad,  pious  or  worldly  ;  the  little 
baby,  simply  on  the  ground  of  its  humanity,  is 
claimed  to  be  a  member  of  Christ,  the  child  of  God, 
and  a  present  inheritor  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven. 
Religious  people  who  would  separate  men  into  sects 
grounded  upon  certain  opinions  as  to  Church  govern- 
ment or  Christian  doctrine,  are  borne  witness  against 
by  this  simple  sacrament.  So,  too,  are  those  who 

128  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

would  divide  Londoners  into  classes — a  lower  class 
which  is  brutalized,  a  middle  class  which  is  vulgarized, 
and  an  upper  class  which  is  materialized.  And  this 
witness  to  the  essential  equality  of  our  people  is 
borne,  not  merely  by  advanced  clergymen  with  all 
sorts  of  new  and  liberal  views,  but  by  the  quietest, 
most  humdrum  pastor  who  ever  stuck  to  his  parish 
work  and  never  went  on  platforms,  provided  he 
searches  for  the  babes  of  his  flock,  and  has  them 
brought  as  infants  to  the  font.  Our  unhappy  divisions 
into  religious  sects  and  social  classes  stand  condemned 
in  the  light  of  this  sacrament. 

The  best  thing  the  Church  could  do  for  London 
would  be  for  every  minister  to  be  diligent  in  ad- 
ministering this  sacrament,  and  for  the  people  to  be 
active  and  intelligent  appreciators  of  it. 

2.  The  second  thing  which  the  Church  might  do 
for  London  would  be  to  continue  to  make  much,  and 
much  more  than  it  has  during  the  last  three  centuries, 
of  the  Holy  Communion.  To  restore  it  to  its  own 
proper  place  as  the  one  great  central  Christian  service. 
The  service  not  merely  for  the  specially  religious  or 
the  ultra-pious,  but  for  ordinary  work-a-day  men 
and  women.  For  this  great  sacrament,  as  the  Holy 
Communion,  tells  men  that  they  are  brothers,  not 
merely  at  church  or  in  religion,  but  in  politics,  labour, 
and  life  generally.  As  the  Lord's  Supper,  it  calls  upon 
them  to  be  active  in  every  emancipating  work  for 
mankind,  just  as  the  yearly  Passover  supper  was  the 
festival  of  the  Hebrew  emancipation  ;  as  the  Holy 
Eucharist,  it  tells  us  that  our  God  is  a  God  of  joy 
and  gladness, — it  sanctifies  amusements,  and  conse- 
crates the  amusers  ;  as  the  Mass,  it  tells  us  of  sacrifice, 
and  unites  us  with  our  fellow- Churchmen  throughout 

And  so  what  the  Church  might  do  for  London 
would  be  for  her  parish  priests  to  be  giving  them- 


selves  continually  to  this  very  thing— not  relegating 
it  to  a  corner,  or  letting  it  be  supplanted  by  eloquent 
sermons,  or  glorified  Matins,  but  making  much  of  it 
in  every  way  ;  and  for  her  people,  the  whole  body 
of  the  baptized,  to  be  crowding  to  their  Communions 
three  times  a  year,  and  bringing  themselves,  their 
joys  and  their  sorrows,  their  private,  their  social, 
their  political  life,  as  often  as  may  be,  into  the  Real 
Presence  of  Christ. 

It  is  curious  that  all  sorts  of  experiments  for  the 
regeneration  of  London  have  been  tried — teetotalism, 
mothers'  meetings,  drum-and-fife  bands,  and  what 
not ;  but  that  even  still  in  very  few  churches  has  the 
Eucharist  been  put  into  its  proper,  prominent,  legiti- 
mate place. 

3.  And  next,  the  Church  in  London  might  see,  as 
of  old,  to  the  shepherding  of  the  lambs  of  its  flock. 
The  Catechism  and  its  rubrics  make  it  abundantly 
clear  that  it  is  the  business  of  the  Church  to  see  that 
the  full  definite  principles  of  the  Catholic  Faith  are 
taught  to  the  children.  This  is  a  matter  which  the 
Church  in  London  lately  has  grossly  neglected ; 
instead  of  attending  to  it,  a  majority  of  her  members 
have  been  urging  the  State  to  take  into  her  un- 
commissioned hands  the  manipulating  of  our  holy 
religion,  and  have  rejoiced  unspeakably  in  that  they 
have  got  the  State  to  undertake  the  duty  of  teaching 
one  and  a  half  of  the  great  Christian  doctrines  to 
her  children.  This  cannot  possibly  give  permanent 
satisfaction.  And  therefore,  if  London  is  to  become 
a  real  city  of  God,  while  the  State  rightly  claims  her 
right  to  give  secular  schooling  to  the  children,  the 
Church  must  also  claim  her  right,  which  the  State 
is  perfectly  willing  to  concede,  of  teaching  them 
the  great  principles  of  the  Catholic  Faith.  Ail 
your  material  reforms — ay,  even  if  you  again  have 
salmon  in  the  Thames  and  London  clean — cannot 


130  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

be  permanent,  I  doubt  even  whether  they  can  be 
achieved,  if  the  Church  neglects  this  paramount  duty 
to  all  her  children. 

Think  what  a  different  London  we  should  have 
had  by  this  time  if  it  had  been  taught  effectually  to 
all  alike,  that  it  is  the  duty  which  each  one  owes 
to  his  neighbour  to  learn  and  labour  truly  to  get  his 
own  living  ;  if  London,  instead  of  consisting  of  beggars 
and  robbers  living  on  the  workers,  was  a  city  of 
healthy,  happy  workers  only.  The  manipulated 
Christian  religion  leaves  these  truths  in  the  back- 
ground. The  Church — bishops,  clergy,  and  people 
alike — if  they  really  want  to  help  London,  should 
arouse  themselves  to  active  mental  fight  and  organi- 
zation, in  order  that  they  may  make  the  education 
of  the  young  in  the  principles  of  the  Catholic  Faith 
a  primary  charge  on  their  time,  money,  and  energy. 

4.  I  have  called  your  attention  to  these  three 
elementary  functions  of  the  Christian  Church,  these 
three  primary  duties  which  the  Church  has  to  every 
city  in  which  she  is  planted,  because  there  seems  to 
be  a  serious  danger  lest  their  paramount  importance 
should  be  overlooked,  or  lest  men  should  be  led  to 
think  that  the  social  work  of  the  Church  could  in 
any  way  be  separated  from  them.  If  the  Church 
neglects  her  duty  to  London  in  these  matters  ;  if 
she  does  not  make  much  of  the  two  greatest  of  the 
seven  sacraments  ;  if  she  leaves  to  an  uncommissioned 
School  Board  the  duty  of  teaching  the  principles  of 
the  Christian  religion  to  her  children  ;  the  Church 
can  never  have  that  emancipating  influence  in  London, 
or  anywhere  else,  which  she  is  intended  to  have.  But 
when  this  elementary,  primary,  paramount  work  is 
done,  the  rest  follows  as  a  matter  of  course,  and,  as 
a  matter  of  course,  men  and  women  are  found  to 
hand  to  do  it. 

On  the  other  hand,  if  all  sorts   of  schemes   and 


plans  for  material  or  social  reform  are  put  before 
the  making  much  of  the  sacraments  and  the  mainte- 
nance of  definite  Christian  doctrine,  then  I  fear  the 
schemes  and  plans  will  be  wanting  in  coherence  and 
permanency.  Men  will  first  try  this  and  then  that ; 
they  will  have  kindled  their  own  fire,  and  have  walked 
surrounded  with  the  sparks  which  they  have  kindled, 
but  finally  they  will  lie  down  in  sorrow. 

It  is  more  important  for  the  Church  to  be  giving 
to  Londoners  a  reasonable,  permanent,  theological 
basis  for  their  emancipating  work,  than  even  to  be 
taking  an  active  part  in  the  details  of  that  work. 
We  have  a  right  to  call  upon  men  to  face  the  question 
as  to  what  foundation  their  work  rests  upon ;  as  to 
why  they  should  go  on  working  for  the  democracy, 
when  the  people  for  whom  they  are  working  appa- 
rently care  very  little  for  them  ;  or  spending  their 
lives  for  progress,  when  half  their  colleagues  identify 
progress  with  petty  personal  interference  and  tyranny. 

The  sacramental  and  theological  foundation  of  all 
this  is  laid  in  every  Baptism,  every  Holy  Communion, 
and  in  the  simple  teaching  of  the  Church  Catechism. 
The  laying  of  this  foundation  is  the  most  important 
thing  which  the  Church  can  do  for  London ;  there- 
fore many  a  parish  priest  or  quiet  congregation,  who 
would  not  dream  of  joining  the  Christian  Social 
Union,  is  co-operating  with  us.  And  on  the  other 
hand,  no  amount  of  ecclesiastical  or  social  fireworks 
will  bring  as  much  benefit  to  London  as  the  laying 
of  this  sacramental  and  theological  foundation  would 

On  the  other  hand,  every  kind  of  emancipating 
work  should  be  built  on  this  foundation.  It  is  the 
business  of  the  Church  in  London  to  help  to  let  the 
oppressed  go  free,  and  to  break  every  yoke.  The 
organization  of  labour,  the  sweeping  away  of  slums, 
the  providing  of  open  spaces,  the  purifying  of  our 

132  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

river, — all  these  and  such-like  matters  the  Church 
will  take  an  active  part  in  supporting.  The  injustice 
under  which  the  enormous  value  given  to  the  land 
in  London  by  the  community,  by  industrious  workers 
and  traders,  is  monopolized  by  a  few,  will  be  per- 
sistently attacked.  The  early  age  at  which  children 
leave  school,  the  too-long  hours  for  which  they  have 
to  work,  and  the  dangerous  way  in  which  for  a  few 
short  years  they  thrust  the  elder  adults  out  of  the 
labour  market,  and  then,  having  only  been  taught, 
say,  to  make  the  twentieth  part  of  a  chair,  or  the 
tenth  part  of  a  boot,  they  sink  into  the  ranks  of  the 
unemployed,  soon  after  they  are  married,  and  other 
youngsters  take  their  place, — these  are  matters  to 
which,  for  the  sake  of  London,  the  Church  might 
devote  serious  thought. 

And  the  blackleg,  too,  with  all  your  zeal  for  organ- 
ized industry,  he  must  not  be  outside  the  Church's 
sympathy ;  for  what  is  he  but  the  victim  of  land 
monopoly  in  the  country,  forced  off  the  soil,  imported 
into  London,  to  ruin,  if  it  may  be,  organized  labour  ? 

The  emancipation  of  all  these,  and  of  their  organ- 
izers or  employers,  who  are  themselves  competing 
one  against  the  other,  it  is  for  the  Church  to  bring 
about  by  thinking  clearly  and  acting  fearlessly. 

It  is  easy  enough  to  dream  beautiful  dreams  of 
what  London  might  be,  it  is  too  fatally  easy  to 
fling  wild  words  against  this  or  that  individual  or 
class  ;  what  the  Church  has  to  do  is  to  recognize 
that  we  are  all  more  or  less  in  a  tangle,  to  seek  out 
the  cause  of  it,  and  to  work  very  steadily  at  the 
removal  of  the  cause. 

But  the  Church's  emancipating  work  must  be  seen 
in  other  spheres  besides  the  industrial.  The  misery 
caused  by  modern  anarchic  systems  of  industry,  and 
by  the  monopoly  of  the  great  means  of  production, 
is  terrible ;  but  there  are  plain  signs  that  order  is 


beginning  to  take  the  place  of  anarchy,  and  that  the 
monopoly  is  doomed.  It  is  the  Church's  work  to 
help  to  bring  about  that  order  and  to  hasten  that 

But  it  is  also  the  Church's  work  to  deliver  men 
from  others  who  would  bind  on  them  heavy  burdens 
grievous  to  be  borne  ;  and  some  of  those  who  are  most 
eager  about  industrial  emancipation  are  equally  eager 
to  enforce  a  personal  interference  with  the  lives  and 
pleasures  of  the  people  which  may  soon  become 
intolerable.  From  this — the  Puritan  tyranny — it  is 
the  duty  of  the  Church  to  help  to  deliver  London. 

The  Puritan  attack  on  the  public-house,  the  music- 
hall,  and  the  frank  though  restrained  life  of  the 
senses,  is  obviously  the  result  of  a  non-sacramental 
training ;  and  the  Churchman  is  bound  to  say,  "  The 
singers  and  the  dancers,  yea,  and  all  my  fresh  founts 
of  joy,  shall  be  in  Thee." 

A  spiritual  as  well  as  an  industrial  emancipation 
for  London  would  thus  naturally  follow  from  a  loyalty 
to  the  Church's  doctrines  and  sacraments. 




"  Though  I  bestow  all  my  goods  to  feed  the  poor  .  .  .  and  have  not 
charity,  it  profiteth  me  nothing." — I  COR.  xiii.  3. 

THERE  are  many  words  which  bear  a  double  sense. 
Two  are  attached  to  "charity."  St.  Paul,  in  my 
text,  speaks  of  one  which  prevailed  in  his  own  time, 
and  has  survived  to  ours,  often  to  the  exclusion  of 
any  other,  viz.  the  bestowal  of  alms,  in  the  shape 
of  money,  food,  or  clothing.  This  is  the  popular 
meaning  given  to  the  word  now.  It  appears  in  such 
terms  as  "charitable  institution/'  "charity  school," 
"  charity  blankets,"  and  "  charity  sermon,"  which  is 
an  appeal  for  money  to  help  the  "  poor."  Indeed,  so 
widely  is  this  sense  of  the  word  accepted,  that  we 
have  a  "  Charity  Organization  Society  "  (an  excellent 
one,  by  the  way)  formed  for  the  purpose  of  enabling 
generous  people  to  relieve  such  as  are  in  real  distress. 
The  Bible  has  much  to  say  about  this  kind  of  charity. 
Some  of  it  appears  in  sentences  read  from  the  Old 
Testament  before  a  collection  of  the  offertory  in 
church,  and  we  hear  of  it  plainly  from  the  lips  of  our 
Lord  Himself.  No  one  denies  the  value  of  material 
donations  to  the  needy,  nor  the  duty  of  making  them, 
especially  by  those  who  (as  people  say)  are  "  blessed  " 
with  the  good  things  of  this  world. 

But  St.  Paul,  in  an  exhaustive  definition  of  charity, 


takes  an  extreme  case,  and  puts  the  popular  meaning 
of  this  word  on  one  side,  as  imperfect.  He  gives 
another  sense  to  it.  The  bountiful  donor,  imagined 
by  him,  who  lacked  charity,  would  hardly  be  welcomed 
by  the  Judge  in  the  day  of  Doom. 

The  Apostle,  indeed,  be  it  remarked,  does  not  decry 
a  bodily  helping  of  the  poor.  He  himself  laboured 
with  his  own  hands  that  he  might  minister,  not 
merely  to  his  own  necessities,  but  to  those  of  such 
as  were  with  him.  But  he  looks  at  the  motive  of 
the  giver  ;  and  surely  this  must  involve  a  perception 
of  the  best  way  in  which  we  may  benefit  the  receiver. 
Thus  we  may  come  to  apprehend  the  nature  of 
"  Christian  charity/'  The  love  of  God  is  not  shared 
by  the  donor  unless  his  help  be  given  "  cheerfully," 
without  grudging  complaint  at  being  asked  to  give, 
or  protest  against  the  exacting  troublesomeness  of 
the  poor  as  being  to  blame  for  their  poverty.  He 
must  help  with  some  exercise  of  His  spirit  Who  knows 
what  things  we  have  need  of  before  we  ask  Him. 

Now  in  inquiring  how  we  should  give,  several 
thoughts  suggest  themselves.  Let  me  dispose  of  at 
least  one.  All  allow  that  sometimes  help  has  un- 
avoidably to  be  given  openly,  or  on  a  large  scale, 
when  contributions  are  invited  towards  the  support 
of  some  good  work  which  ignorance  of  details,  or 
want  of  personal  opportunities,  prevents  a  man  from 
helping  in  private.  In  this  case,  moreover,  he  may 
receive  praise  of  men,  without  forfeiting  his  right  to 
be  acting  with  true  charity.  This  was  recognized 
when  distribution  was  made  to  the  needy  at  Jeru- 
salem, and  givers  laid  their  money  at  the  Apostles' 
feet.  The  donation,  e.g.,  of  Joses,  a  Levite,  and  of 
the  country  of  Cyprus  (they  called  him,  indeed,  the 
"  son  of  consolation  "),  was  openly  made,  and  specially 
acknowledged  by  the  Church.  Nevertheless,  in  most 
cases,  the  rule  of  Jesus  must  be  remembered,  and 

136  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

how  He  said,  "  When  thou  doest  an  alms,  let  not 
thy  left  hand  know  what  thy  right  hand  doeth." 
This  secrecy  has  a  double  use.  It  bars  an  appetite 
for  praise  in  the  donor,  and  spares  the  self-respect 
of  the  recipient,  who  is  led  to  look  on  the  gift  as  the 
act  of  a  friend,  not  that  of  a  patron.  Moreover,  it  is 
advisable,  as  checking  greedy  clamour  for  alms,  and 
thwarting  a  concourse  of  beggars. 

But,  in  the  face  of  permanent  destitution,  very 
little  good  seems  to  be  done  by  the  most  generous 
of  donations,  whether  made  in  public  or  private. 
This  is  a  stale  admission.  Some  people,  however, 
have  gone  on  filling  the  sieve  of  beggary,  in  the 
kindliest  spirit,  to  find  it  empty  again.  Others  have 
used  discriminating  schemes  of  distribution,  and  relied 
on  the  practical  discernment  of  the  Charity  Organi- 
zation Society.  Thus,  indeed,  they  may  feel  to  be 
protected  from  encouraging  imposture,  and  that 
certain  of  the  "deserving  poor"  are  helped  by  their 
gifts.  This  is  well,  so  far.  Many  of  the  most  needy 
are  thus  aided.  But  (as  my  old  friend  Hansard  used 
to  say)  you  cannot  organize  the  Holy  Ghost.  When 
all  is  said  and  done  towards  saving  the  most  hopeful 
sufferers  from  the  slough  of  pauperism,  close  above 
its  surface  there  is  a  film  of  poverty  which  the  imple- 
ment of  the  direct  money-giver  is  unable  to  skim 
off.  How  does  Christian  charity,  even  if  joined  with 
the  bestowal  of  all  a  man's  goods  to  feed  the  poor, 
suffice  to  remove  or  dissipate  this  layer  of  industrial 
privation,  and  the  mass  of  penury  beneath  it  ? 

Does  the  example  of  St.  Martin,  who  divided  his 
cloak  with  the  beggar,  help  us  ?  Or  are  we  sufficiently 
warned  by  the  fate  of  Dives,  who  allowed  a  pauper 
to  live  on  the  crumbs  from  his  table,  till  the  angels 
intervened?  It  was  not  unkind  of  him  to  let  a 
rnenial-fed  dependent  lie  at  his  gate.  We  may  be 
sure  that  another  Lazarus  filled  the  coveted  vacancy 


before  Dives  was  buried.  And  an  army  of  St.  Martins 
would  have  been  needed  to  gratify  the  swarm  which 
must  have  envied  the  good  fortune  of  their  comrade. 
Can  Christian  charity  such  as  that  of  this  one  saint 
solve  the  problem  before  Christians  now  ? 

Without  finding  in  its  impossibility  an  excuse  for 
shutting  the  purse  and  buttoning  the  pocket,  must 
we  not  perceive  that  charity  means  far  more  than  a 
giving  to  the  poor  of  that  which  satisfies  bodily 
hunger  ? 

Was  Jesus  pleased  when  the  multitude  sought  Him 
because  they  ate  of  the  loaves  and  were  filled  ? 

He  fed  them,  indeed,  and  we  may  thus  learn  of 
Him  in  times  of  extremity  ;  but  He  looked  for  a 
better  appetite  in  them  than  that  which  He  had 
quenched.  In  this,  too,  He  surely  teaches  us,  still 

Should  we  not  think  of  what  the  poor  ought  to 
desire  for  themselves?  Should  we  not  do  all  we 
can  to  encourage  a  wish  in  them  for  something 
beyond  "  loaves  and  fishes  "  ? 

Have  not  these  very  words,  indeed,  been  used,  in 
contempt,  by  the  best  among  the  necessitous,  as  when 
they  sneer  at  such  as  profess  religion  for  what  they 
can  get  in  the  shape  of  tickets  and  doles  ? 

Some  philanthropists  have  come  to  see  the  truth 
of  this,  and  sought  to  promote  "  thrift,"  and  a  more 
refined  appreciation  of  human  enjoyment  than  comes 
through  the  bodily  senses.  They  have  looked  beyond 
the  beneficence  of  hospitals,  which  train  the  rich  man's 
doctor  while  they  unquestionably  heal  the  sick  poor, 
and  they  have  promoted  "provident  dispensaries." 
They  have  also  set  up  Polytechnics  and  the  like. 
They  have  encouraged  the  spread  of  elevating  litera- 
ture, technical  education,  and  hailed  the  arrival  of 
parish  councils.  All  this,  especially  the  last,  indi- 
cates a  wholesome  growing  perception  that  the  real 

138  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

wants  of  the  "  masses  "  are  not  met  by  a  permanent 
distribution  of  alms,  however  generous  and  devoutly 
given,  or  by  gifts  of  food,  fire,  and  clothing  specially 
needed  at  times  of  acute  general  distress.  The  un- 
employed cry  for  work,  not  bread  without  employ- 
ment. Moreover,  beyond  a  limited  appreciation  of 
such  philanthropical  instructive  institutions  as  I  have 
referred  to,  even  these  are  felt,  somehow,  by  many, 
to  be  outside  the  deeper  needs  of  those  whom  they 
are  designed  to  benefit.  They  are  excellent  in  their 
way,  and  deserve  liberal  support,  especially  as  they 
tend  to  encourage  more  self-reliance  among  the  care- 
less. There  is,  however,  a  growing  desire  among 
the  best  of  those  roughly  designated  as  the  "  poor  " 
for  something  which  has  no  flavour  of  "  charity,"  as 
commonly  understood.  It  is  a  feeling  after  such 
relief  or  elevation  as  arises  from  within  themselves, 
and  does  not  approach  them  from  without,  however 
kind  the  motives  of  those  who  would  bring  and 
bestow  it.  Something  like  the  sap  of  creation,  which 
lifts  the  tree  whose  seed  is  in  itself,  and  rises,  so  to 
speak,  with  automatic  growth. 

The  most  intelligently  aspiring  members  of  the 
"  working  class "  crave  for  that  action  to  be  en- 
couraged which  shall  recognize  more  fully  their  claim 
as  citizens  to  better  the  laws  under  which,  unhappily, 
the  present  evil  condition  of  so  many  among  the 
"  industrial  population  "  has  come  about.  There  are, 
indeed,  not  a  few  who  can  work,  but  are  not  ashamed 
to  beg.  And  there  are  some  who  subject  themselves 
to  capricious  restrictions  when  they  might  fairly  earn 
their  bread. 

But  the  most  self-respecting  among  those  I  am 
thinking  of  would  almost  rather  starve  than  be  sup- 
pliants for  alms.  They  resent  sheer  donative  charity 
with  profound  repugnance,  and  ask  for  remedial 
measures,  constitutionally  inaugurated,  some  of  which 


startle  political  economists.  I  do  not  here  examine, 
or  indeed  plead  for,  any  of  the  special  proposals 
which  are  thus  made,  but  (merely  as  an  illustration 
of  the  fact  that  they  aim  at  superseding  so-called 
popular  chanty,  and  without  any  decrying  of  material 
generosity,  personally  shown  by  friends)  I  might 
point  to  a  sign  of  the  times  seen  in  the  popularity 
of  a  work  lately  published,  and,  with  severe  signifi- 
cance, called  "  Merrie  England/'  It  faces  the  "  pro- 
blem of  life."  The  book  contains  more  than  two 
hundred  pages,  is  written  in  a  vivid  scholarly  style, 
and  divided  into  chapters  headed  with  quotations 
from  Ruskin,  Browning,  Matthew  Arnold,  Mill,  Adam 
Smith,  and,  repeatedly,  the  Prophet  Isaiah. 

Well,  this  aggressive  but  scholarly  volume  costs 
only  a  penny,  and  already,  it  is  announced,  several 
hundred  thousand  copies  of  it  have  been  bought, 
mainly  by  "  working  men." 

This  is  more  than  a  "  straw  "  in  the  wind  that  has 
brought  the  social  revolution  through  which  we  are 
passing.  And  I  now  refer  to  it  in  so  far  as  it  involves 
an  utterance  pointedly  discarding  the  interpretation 
long  given  to  the  word  "  charity." 

And  without  committing  himself  to  an  approval 
of  what  this  book  recommends,  for  it  is  in  the  pro- 
foundest  degree  revolutionary,  I  would  ask  every 
Christian  to  consider  well  whether  St.  Paul's  plea  for 
that  which  hopeth,  beareth,  and  believeth  all  things, 
should  not  lead  him  to  look,  with  a  tolerant  eye,  at 
any  repudiation  by  the  "poor"  of  the  patronizing 
sense  which  has  been  given  to  the  word  "charity/' 
even  though  their  resentment  of  it  be  accompanied 
by  statements  and  proposals  referring  to  matters 
outside  the  region  of  almsgiving. 

Meanwhile,  without  attempting  to  forecast  the 
eventual  result  of  any  effort  by  the  working  classes 
to  benefit  the  needy  through  some  legislative  action 

140  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

(not  by  any  means  necessarily  subversive  of  existing 
order),  we  cannot  selfishly  abstain  from  giving  direct 
help  to  such  as  are  in  obvious  distress.  But  "  he 
that  is  spiritual  judgeth  all  things,"  and  it  is  not  for 
the  true  Christian  to  turn  with  final  contemptuous 
distaste  from  any  genuine  movement  among  the 
masses  to  elevate  themselves  ;  however  crude  it  may 
be,  and  however  little  he  may  esteem  the  nature  of 
the  requirements  they  put  forth. 

When  we  see  symptoms  of  a  desire  among  the 
"  needy  "  for  something  better  than  "  doles,"  or  even 
usefully  instructive  philanthropical  institutions,  we 
ought  to  hail  it  as  a  sign  of  social  health.  There  is 
such  a  thing  as  "righteous  discontent"  which  breeds 
wholesome  self-reliance  in  a  nation,  though  its  growth 
may  be  mistaken  by,  and  repugnant  to,  some  who 
look  for  immediate  thanks  whenever  they  do  a  kind- 
ness after  their  own  choosing. 

He  who  exercises  far-seeing  Christian  charity, 
though  (as  things  are)  he  will  gladly  give  to  feed 
the  hungry,  clothe  the  naked,  and  warm  the  cold, 
must,  indeed,  be  prepared  often  to  have  his  vital 
motives  misunderstood  by  the  poor  with  whom  he  is 
brought  into  contact,  and  to  have  pleas  for  their 
ultimate  good  ungraciously  heard  by  many  who 
rely  upon  the  virtue  of  almsgiving.  Nevertheless, 
he  will  not  hide  his  head  in  the  sand,  shrinking 
from  a  sight  of  the  fact  that  thousands  of  those  who 
form  the  social  stratum  above  pauperism  are  being 
deeply  moved  with  a  desire  to  raise  themselves  by 
some  legislative  remedy,  out  of  that  state  which 
causes  so  many  of  them  to  look  for  relief  through 
external  charity.  This  mostly  lowers  the  recipient, 
instead  of  raising  him,  however  sincerely  and  un- 
selfishly it  may  be  applied. 

The  far-seeing  friend  of  man  will  realize  all  this  in 
a  true  Christian  spirit.  He  will  do  what  he  can  to 


give  unformulated  and  exaggerated  hopes  a  right 
direction,  and  be  fair  all  round,  remembering  that 
Joseph  of  Arimathea  was  a  disciple  of  Christ  as  well 
as  Peter  the  fisherman  of  Galilee.  Above  all,  when 
he  has  read  St.  Paul's  definition  of  charity,  he  will 
remember  that  "love"  is  a  name  of  God,  and  be 
enabled  to  recognize  a  true  flavour  of  faith  and  hope 
in  some  of  His  children  whom  others  think  to  be 
too  self-asserting,  and  too  ignorant  to  discern  what 
they  really  need,  but  are  his  brethren  in  Christ ;  and, 
so  far  as  in  him  lies,  to  be  brought  into  touch  with 
that  Spirit  which  He  promised  to  guide  us  into  all 



REV.   G.    SARSON,   M.A., 
Vicar  of  Holy  Trinity,  Dover. 

"  So  God  created  man  in  His  own  image,  in  the  image  of  God 
created  He  him  ;  male  and  female  created  He  them.  And  God  blessed 
them,  and  God  said  unto  them,  Be  fruitful,  and  multiply,  and  replenish 
the  earth,  and  subdue  it." — GEN.  i.  27,  28. 

"Nay,  much  more  those  members  of  the  body,  which  seem  to  be 
more  feeble,  are  necessary." — I  COR.  xii.  22. 

THOSE  of  us  who  venture  to  invoke  the  capacious 
name  of  Christianity  in  the  solution  of  economic 
problems  are  periodically  informed  that  we  are  vainly 
flapping  against  the  iron  bars  of  nature's  cage.  We 
are  warned  to  keep  ourselves,  as  Christians,  off  econo- 
mic ground,  and  not  to  make  of  its  solid  veracities 
a  fool's  paradise  for  ourselves  and  our  dupes.  We 
are,  as  far  as  I  can  discover,  never  exactly  told  what 
the  vast  overshadowing  power,  or  law,  is  which  we 
are  fated  to  defy  if,  as  Christians,  we  venture  to 
meddle  with  economic  questions.  But,  I  believe,  the 
thought  at  the  back  of  men's  minds  is  that  there  are 
too  many  labourers  in  the  land,  too  many  people 
perhaps  in  the  world,  and  that  it  is  unmitigated  mis- 
chief to  lead  sufferers  from  this  superfluity  to  believe 
that  they  can  lift  their  sufferings  from  their  own 
shoulders  without  shifting  it  on  to  others  in  the  ranks 
of  the  superfluous.  Nature,  or  the  universal  blind 

O  VER-POP  ULA  TION.  143 

struggle  and  push,  they  seem  to  think,  is  the  wisest 
chooser  as  to  who  shall  suffer,  when  suffer  some  must, 
until  the  supplies  of  suffering  perish  simultaneously 
with  the  over-supply  of  population. 

Twenty-five  years  ago  political  economists  and 
scientific  philanthropists  agreed  in  declaring  over- 
population to  be  the  chief  obstacle  to  the  progress  of 
the  working  classes.  To-day  the  subject  occupies  a 
comparatively  small  space  in  the  works  of  such  writers ; 
but  the  influence  of  the  thought  lingers.  The  change 
in  tone  is  characteristic  of  a  general  change  since  the 
days  when  Charles  Bradlaugh  was  the  hero  of  the 
most  advanced  politicians  amongst  miners  and  manu- 
facturing artisans.  The  aim  of  Mill  and  Bradlaugh 
was  to  induce  the  country  so  to  limit  its  population 
that  labour,  no  longer  superabundant,  might  command 
its  own  price  in  the  market,  and  be  no  longer  at  the 
mercy  of  the  under-bidding  of  starving  superfluous 
hands.  Mr.  Bradlaugh,  in  his  later  and  parliamentary 
days,  could  hardly  restrain  his  fury  at  the  new  school 
of  labour  leaders  who  ignore  the  dangers  of  over- 
population, and  think  that  State  organization  can 
avail  to  secure  for  the  masses  a  larger  share  of  the 
productions  of  the  country,  so  long  at  least  as  new 
hands  and  mouths  continue  to  multiply.  Labour 
leaders  seemed  to  Mr.  Bradlaugh  rank  impostors  if 
they  led  men  to  hope  for  any  mitigation  of  the  world's 
poverty  except  by  so  reducing  its  population  that 
the  wages  of  unskilled  labour  must  be  higher  because 
of  its  comparative  scarcity.  As  a  strong  individualist, 
Mr.  Bradlaugh  based  all  his  reasoning  on  the  case  of 
the  individual  with  work  to  seek  for,  and  a  family  to 
maintain.  Undeniably,  at  any  particular  time  that 
individual  would  be  more  easily  situated  and  well 
paid,  if  his  family  were  small,  and  his  fellow- workmen 

But  we  may  approach  the  problem  from  a  point 

144  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

of  view  transcending   the  personal   troubles  of  the 
individual,    and   their   tangible   causes   at    any   one 
moment.     It    may  be  more   scientific   to  begin    not 
from  the  individual,  but  by  looking  at  the  masses  in 
the  lump.     In  the  crowd  of  men  standing  idle  in  the 
market-place,  shut  out  from  the  work-yard  gates,  we 
may  see  not  merely  an  over-supply  of  labour.      In 
the  abstract,  there  is  something  self-contradictory  in 
the  phrase  "  over-supply  of  labour."   If  these  labourers 
were  mere  machines,  only  able  to  produce  one  sort 
of  article,  and  only  requiring  oil  and  fuel  to  keep 
them  going,  there  might  be  an  over-supply  of  their 
particular  product.     But,  in  reality,  these  multitudes 
of  unemployed  are  made  for  one  another,  each  de- 
manding something  which  the  others  can  produce, 
the  over-supply  of  each  being  something  with  which 
the   others  are  under-supplied.     The  misfortune  is, 
not  that  these  men  have  come  into  existence,  but 
that  they  are  not  producing  for  one  another  the  things 
which,  between  them,  all  want.   The  able-bodied  have 
it  in  them  to  produce  the  material  and  social  neces- 
sities and  luxuries  which  are  supposed  by  the  indi- 
vidualist to  justify  a  man  in  existing.     All  that  is 
wanted  is  capital  to  set  them  to  work  on  the  raw 
material  of  these  necessities,  and  land  on  which  to 
move  their  limbs   healthily.      Is  there  a  dearth  of 
capital,  dearness  of  raw  material,  scarcity  of  unoccu- 
pied  land  ?    If  so,  there  may  be  natural  obstacles 
to  the   employment  of  the  unemployed   to   supply 
one  another's  needs.     There  is  at  present  no  such 
dearth.     On  the  contrary,  we  are  told  that  capital  and 
land  are  starving  for  lack  of  demanders.     Therefore, 
what  is  wanted  is  to  bring  together  all  these  various 
elements  of  production ;  to  bring  together  the  men 
who   want   one  another,  who  demand  one  another, 
and  can  supply  one  another's  wants  and  demands ; 
to   bring   these   unemployed    men   together   to    the 

O  VER-POP  ULA  TION.  145 

unemployed   capital,  which  also   is   languishing   for 
investment  and  employment  in  their  muscles. 

From  the  point  of  view  of  any  single  individual, 
seeking  employment  in  an  unorganized  society,  every 
other  unemployed  person  adds  to  his  difficulties,  and 
those  difficulties  are  multiplied  by  the  total  number 
of  the  unemployed.  But  looked  at  from  the  point 
of  view  of  a  society  seeking  to  organize  and  utilize 
all  its  instruments  of  production,  an  unemployed  indi- 
vidual's difficulties  are  not  added  to,  but  met,  by  the 
existence  of  other  unemployed  persons.  Every  other 
unemployed  person  is  his  potential  employer,  a 
demand  for  his  unemployed  labour,  for  which  possibly 
there  might  be  no  demand  if  no  other  unemployed 
person  existed.  Therefore,  instead  of  multiplying 
the  difficulties  of  the  unemployed  man  by  the  number 
of  his  fellow-unemployed,  you  may  multiply  the 
demand  for  him  by  the  total  number  of  the  unem- 
ployed. They  are  all  (unless  they  are  rich)  in  need 
of  something,  demanding  something,  which  he  can 
help  to  make.  He,  if  he  is  poor,  especially  if  he  is 
destitute,  is  demanding  many  things  which  they 
between  them  can  make. 

But,  you  will  tell  me,  there  are  already  stacks  of 
boots,  and  stockings,  and  coats,  and  hats,  and  cheap 
food  of  all  sorts,  for  which  there  is  no  market,  and 
to  set  these  unemployed  men  to  make  these  things 
for  one  another,  is  to  leave  these  stacks  of  over- 
production to  throw  still  further  numbers  out  of 
employment.  The  answer  to  this  is,  that  there  may 
at  any  one  time  be  an  over-production  of  certain 
articles  of  common  consumption,  but  there  can  never 
be  an  over-production  of  everything.  Over-produc- 
tion of  everything  would  mean  free  exchange  of  these 
things  amongst  all  their  producers,  and  the  briskest 
possible  trade  for  everything.  For  if  every  one  had 
over-produced,  every  one  would  have  superabundance 


146  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

wherewith  to  purchase  the  superabundance  of  others. 
It  might  in  that  case  be  necessary  to  burn  some  of 
the  over-produced  things,  if  there  were  no  room  for 
the  things,  but  every  one  would  be  in  clover  and  at 
leisure  if  there  were  universal  over-production.  Till 
the  world  is  crammed,  over-production  and  over- 
population cannot  be  the  causes  of  poverty  and 
unemployment.  It  is  unorganized  production,  not 
0zw-production,  unorganized  population,  not  over- 
population,  which  are  the  causes  of  partial  destitution. 
But  there  may  yet  be  some  truth  at  the  bottom  of 
the  over-production  cry.  Though  there  cannot  be 
universal  over-production,  there  may  be  partial  over- 
production ;  there  may,  e.g.,  have  been  over-produc- 
tion of  that  stack  of  boots,  stockings,  coats,  and  hats, 
and  cheapest  foods,  which  we  imagined  might  stand 
unused,  if  the  army  of  the  unemployed  were  organized 
to  make  for  one  another  the  most  common  necessities 
of  life.  But  what  would  this  prove?  Only  the 
difficulties  of  making  a  proper  start  with  the  un- 
employed. That  there  are  too  many  boots,  etc.,  at 
any  one  time  has  been  the  result  of  improper  organi- 
zation of  production,  not  of  general  over-production, 
still  less  of  over-population.  If  there  had  been 
proper  organization  of  production,  the  labour  which 
was  spent  in  making  those  superfluous  boots  would 
have  been  spent  in  making  something  else.  There 
must  be  certain  things  which  would  be  very  welcome 
to  those  who  have  boots  enough,  and  would  add 
to  the  convenience  and  comfort  of  their  lives.  Such 
things  at  present  are  a  little  too  dear  for  these  well- 
booted  folk.  Production,  diverted  from  boots  to 
such  things,  say  overcoats,  or  watches,  or  books,  would 
have  enabled  a  greater  number  of  persons  to  have 
overcoats,  watches,  or  books.  If  so,  the  non-employ- 
ment of  the  army  of  the  unemployed  has  prevented 
a  certain  number  of  persons  from  having  overcoats, 


watches,  and  books ;  and  has  also  left  unused  that 
stack  of  boots,  hats,  stockings,  coats,  etc.,  which  we 
imagined,  and  which  their  producers  may  fairly 
regard  at  present  as  so  much  over-production. 

We  may  freely  admit  that  tremendous  difficulties 
stand  in  the  way  of  such  organization  of  production. 
We  can  also  conceive  that  in  some  things  a  rise  in 
prices  might  occur,  if  there  were  a  cessation  of  the 
present  process  of  cheapening  things  at  the  expense 
of  a  number  of  unemployed.  But  it  is  enough  for 
our  present  purpose  if  we  can  see,  in  what  is  called 
over-population,  a  potential  source  of  wealth,  instead 
of  a  hopeless  cause  of  poverty.  An  enormous  drag 
is  at  once  lifted  off  our  minds  and  hearts  and 
energies,  if  we  may  abandon  the  idea  that  "  numbers  " 
necessarily  spell  "  poverty."  If  pessimists  tell  us  that 
we  must  so  do,  we  might  even  reconcile  ourselves  to 
having  always  to  maintain  a  residuum  of  unemployed 
from  public  funds.  It  would  be  sad  enough  to  have 
to  believe  this,  and  we  need  not  believe  it.  But  even 
this  would  be  welcome  compared  with  the  covert  belief 
that  the  unemployed  are  unemployed  because  there 
are  too  many  people  in  the  world.  It  may  be  beyond 
the  power  of  human  skill  and  calculation  exactly  to 
balance  the  different  sorts  of  production,  so  that  all 
producers  may  always  have  employment ;  but  this 
is  owing  to  imperfections  of  our  present  attainments, 
not  to  the  very  existence  of  a  certain  number  of 
human  beings. 

Thus,  looked  at  from  the  point  of  view  of  this  or 
that  individual  or  family,  over-population  in  this  or 
that  home  may  be  a  cause  of  poverty  to  certain  indi- 
viduals. But,  looked  at  from  the  universal,  every 
increase  of  population  is  potential  increase  of  wealth 
for  all,  so  long  as  the  earth  has  room  and  sufficient 
capacity  for  producing  the  raw  material  necessary 
for  all  to  live  and  work  upon. 

148  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

Those  of  us  who  were  brought  up,  a  quarter  of  a 
century  ago,  on  Mill's  "Political  Economy/'  were 
taught  to  regard  the  possessors  of  large  families  as 
sinning  against  the  future  welfare  of  society  at  large. 
Some  of  you  may  remember  an  angry  footnote  of 
Mill,  in  which  he  denounces  the  clergy  and  others  for 
their  bad  example  in  this  respect  For  Mill  there  was 
little  superiority  in  periods  of  commercial  prosperity 
as  compared  with  adversity,  so  long  as  in  pros- 
perous times  the  marriage  and  birth  rates  increased. 
His  only  good  hope  from  prosperous  periods  was 
that  the  standard  of  comfort  of  the  working  classes 
might  be  raised  in  such  periods,  and  that  as  they 
passed  away,  each  time  they  might  leave  the  work- 
ing classes  insisting  upon  a  larger  amount  of  comfort 
as  the  minimum  for  a  tolerable  existence.  And 
herein  he  laid  the  foundation  of  what  his  disciples 
of  to-day  denounce  as  so  unscientific — the  idea  of  "  a 
living  wage."  But  that  men  should  be  able  to  insist 
upon  a  living  wage  any  larger  than  that  which  is  just 
enough  to  keep  them  able  to  work,  seemed  to  Mill 
impossible,  except  by  the  limiting  of  the  population 
so  that  wages  should  rise  through  the  comparative 
scarcity  of  labour.  He  was  right  if  organization  is 
impossible,  organization  local,  national,  international. 

Mr.  Kidd  has  been  formulating  as  a  sine  qua  non  of 
progress  that  population  should  press  upon  the  means 
of  subsistence.  If  what  he  says  is  true,  then  if 
individualism  prevailed  so  that  the  population  were 
regulated  by  the  determination  of  parents  that  their 
children  shall  easily  be  as  well  provided  for  as  them- 
selves, the  elementary  conditions  of  progress  would 
cease  to  exist  As  we  look  at  the  crowds  of  children 
in  the  streets  round  about  us,  Mr.  Kidd  seems  to  say 
to  us,  although  and  because  these  children  are  a 
financial  difficulty  to  their  parents,  they  are  conditions 
of  progress  to  the  community.  Necessary  conditions, 


mark  ;  not  necessary  causes  of  wealth  and  progress. 
To  become  causes  of  wealth  and  progress,  the  press 
of  population  must  be  educated  producers,  organized, 
and,  as  Mr.  Kidd  historically  gathers,  religious  as  a 
body.  We  have  been  seeing  that  what  is  called  over- 
population is  a  potential  source  of  production  and 
joint  wealth — over-addition  to  the  commonwealth.  But 
Mr.  Kidd's  point  is  merely  that  if  the  pressure  of  the 
tendency  to  over-population  is  relaxed,  nature's  uni- 
versal goad  is  removed.  Mr.  Kidd  is  not,  in  what 
he  considers  the  strict  sense  of  the  term,  a  socialist. 
For  him  strong  competition  is  the  atmosphere  that 
healthy  nature  universally  desiderates.  Within  this 
atmosphere,  he  would  have  everything  that  is  possible 
done  to  give  every  one  an  equal  footing  in  the  struggle 
of  life.  Progress,  he  argues,  has  proceeded  in  pro- 
portion as  religion  has  induced  races  to  bring  ever- 
increasing  numbers  of  their  members  within  the  area 
of  a  fairer  struggle  for  the  means  of  subsistence. 
What  is  called  over-population  is,  in  itself,  a  sine  quti 
non  of  progress  ;  not  inevitably  productive  of  progress, 
and  yet  potentially  productive  of  wealth  and  progress, 
and  thus  productive  in  proportion  as  organization 
prevails,  organization  based  upon  desire  to  bring  all 
really  within  the  commonwealth. 

Thus,  whatever  tendency  there  may  be  to  over- 
population, is  nature  goading  men  to  organize,  and  to 
organize  religiously — religiously,  that  is,  in  deference 
to  the  ties  which  bind  men  together.  These  ties 
make  mankind  an  organism.  To  respond  to  these 
ties  is  to  organize,  to  be  religious  ;  for  we  can  only 
organize  in  the  Name  of  the  Most  High  within  the 
human  being,  and  in  renunciation  of  mere  self,  i.e.  in 
the  Name  of  Christ. 

We  need  not,  then,  be  pessimists.  There  is  no 
justification  for  blank  dismay.  The  great  impedi- 
ment to  progress  does  not  consist  in  the  growth  of 


population.  We  might  well  be  appalled  if  every 
baby  born  were  an  addition  to  the  sum-total  of 
poverty.  On  the  contrary,  every  baby  born  is  a 
potential  addition  to  the  wealth  of  the  nation.  It  is 
only  a  source  of  poverty  when  you  allow  the  baby 
to  grow  up  into  an  untaught  youth,  leaving  school 
too  soon,  and  doing  a  man's  or  woman's  work  badly 
as  soon  as  it  is  big  enough  to  do  unskilled  work. 
The  boy  is  a  source  of  poverty  when  you  allow  him 
to  earn  money  so  soon  that  he  never  learns  to  become 
a  permanent  producer  of  anything.  There  the  error 
is  again  the  individualist's  error.  In  pity  for  the 
pinched  family,  and  to  ease  its  resources  for  two 
or  three  years,  you  prevent  the  boy  from  learning 
what  will  enrich  him  and  the  community  for  life. 
Perhaps  his  father,  at  the  age  of  forty,  is  finding 
employment  scarcer?  Why?  Perhaps  because  his 
work  is  being  done  by  some  boy  of  thirteen  or 
fifteen  who  ought  to  be  at  school  or  a  technical 

Of  course  such  boys  will  be  turned  into  the  market 
at  the  earliest  possible  moment,  if  industrial  life  is 
to  be  a  merely  individualist  struggle.  That  boy's 
father  will  serve  other  men  as  other  boys'  fathers 
have  served  him.  And  so,  says  the  individualist, 
cheapness  prevails,  and  all  have  their  wants  supplied 
at  the  least  cost.  But  the  process  is  murderous. 
And  it  is  the  disorganization  that  is  so  suicidal.  We 
have  left  industry  to  scramble  and  chance,  and  then 
we  despair  because  there  are  so  many  to  engage  in 
the  scramble.  If  the  scramblers  were  dogs,  our 
despair  would  be  warrantable.  Because  they  are 
human  beings,  whether  labourers  or  capitalists,  their 
mutual  destructiveness  may  be  turned  into  construc- 
tiveness  if  they  will  co-operate  instead  of  scrambling. 
As  long  as  they  scramble,  they  destroy  the  wealth 
which  lies  within  themselves  as  well  as  the  capital 

O  VER-POP  ULA  TION.  1 5 1 

they  fight  for.  If  they  will  co-operate,  they  will  at 
once  multiply  their  inherent  wealth  and  the  capital  of 
the  capitalists.  We  want  so  to  condition  life  that 
co-operation  may  be  possible.  For  this,  we  must 
educate,  discipline,  organize.  We  can  begin  to  do 
this  as  communities  and  as  a  nation.  We  can  hardly, 
as  a  nation,  begin  to  reduce  the  population,  even  if 
that  were  the  panacea  for  our  social  woes.  That 
must  be  left  to  individual  prudence.  And  such 
prudence  will  grow  best  amongst  organized  sur- 
roundings. If  it  is  imprudence,  the  poorest  are  most 
imprudent  in  this  matter.  You  will  stop  their  im- 
prudence, not  by  intensifying  the  present  scramble, 
but  by  the  thought  and  pause  which  organization 
brings.  And  this  is  hindered,  we  know  not  how 
much,  by  a  preliminary  pessimism — the  profound, 
though  now  perhaps  partially  shamed  and  silent 
pessimism,  which  believes  that  our  main  difficulty  is 
one  which,  to  tell  the  grim  truth,  could  only  really  be 
abated  by  wholesale  murder.  Of  course,  such  pessi- 
mism, bred  of  the  belief  that  there  are  too  many 
people  in  the  land,  makes  men  feel  that  the  remedies 
for  our  woes  do  not  lie  in  Christianity.  When  they 
tell  us  that  Christianity  cannot  be  profitably  brought 
to  bear  on  political  economy,  they  mean  that 

4 '  Nature,  red  in  tooth  and  claw, 
With  ravine  shrieks  against  our  creed." 

But  we  tell  them  that  they  take  a  very  partial  and 
limited  view  of  Nature,  and  that  Nature  is  made  for 
organization,  and  that  those  men  most  ignore  Nature 
who  most  ignore  her  capacities  for  organization  at 
the  hand  of  man. 

As  Christians,  it  is  almost  enough  for  us  to  protest 
against  this  pessimism.  It  is  not  our  special  function 
to  work  out  the  mechanics  of  the  organization  of 
industry,  capital  and  labour.  This  is  the  office  of 

i$2  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

the  political  economist  and  the  statesman.  Ours  is, 
in  the  Name  of  the  God-Christ,  to  emancipate  these 
workers  and  their  clients  from  the  chains  of  pessi- 
mism with  which  they  are  tied  and  bound  ;  to  declare 
that  there  is  a  Mind  and  Heart  at  the  bottom  of 
creation  ;  that  man  is  made  in  God's  image  still,  that 
he  may  be  fruitful,  and  multiply,  and  replenish  the 
earth,  and  subdue  it  to  his  service  and  God's.  If  we 
can  thus  liberate  thought  from  its  bondage  to  pessi- 
mism, we  shall  stimulate  economic  invention  and 
ingenuity  and  statecraft,  until  they  achieve  for  human 
industry  and  capital  what  they  have  achieved  in  the 
past  generation  for  machinery  and  locomotion. 
Economic  science  has  too  much  confined  itself  to 
glorifying  into  impassable  barriers  the  difficulties 
which  life  undoubtedly  presents.  We  do  not  ask 
that  these  difficulties  may  be  ignored.  But  we  do 
insist  that  ideals  shall  not  be  ignored.  We  do  insist 
that  every  human  problem  must  be  approached 
under  the  mighty  convictions  of  faith  concerning 
human  society  and  every  human  being. 

In  the  Marriage  Service  of  the  Church  of  England, 
the  opening  address,  which  some  shrink  from  hearing 
read,  says  just  what  seems  to  need  to  be  said  by 
reason  and  faith.  There  is  no  breath  of  dismay  at 
the  fact  that  marriage  means  children.  This  intro- 
duction to  the  Marriage  Office  even  puts  children  as 
the  first  purpose  of  the  marriage,  in  terms  which 
hardly  any  one  of  to-day  would  have  dared  to  initiate  : 
"  Children  to  be  brought  up  in  the  fear  and  nurture 
of  the  Lord,  and  to  the  praise  of  His  Holy  Name" — 
the  Holy  Name  which  is  the  unity  of  fatherhood, 
sonship,  brotherhood.  It  welcomes  the  prospect 
of  children.  The  only  proviso  is  that  they  shall  be 
brought  up  to  live  for  God  and  not  for  self.  Because 
children  are  the  first  purpose  of  marriage,  therefore  it 
"  is  not  by  any  to  be  enterprised,  nor  taken  in  hand, 

0  VER-POPULA  TION.  153 

unadvisedly,  lightly,  or  wantonly,  to  satisfy  men's 
carnal  lusts  and  appetites,  like  brute  beasts  that 
have  no  understanding  ;  but  reverently,  discreetly, 
advisedly,  soberly,  and  in  the  fear  of  God  ;  duly 
considering  the  causes  for  which  Matrimony  was 
ordained."  The  Church  fears  not  increase  of  popula- 
tion, but  only  selfish,  unsocial,  irreligious  nurture  of 

It  is  beyond  my  present  purpose  to  enforce  all  the 
warning,  which  these  words  contain  against  selfish, 
individualistic,  ill-considered  marriages.  I  can  only 
remind  any  one  who  would  twist  anything  I  have 
said  into  an  apology  for  such  marriages,  that  one  evil 
result  of  the  present  chaotic  scramble  for  a  livelihood 
seems  to  be,  that  marriage  is  at  present  "  enterprised, 
unadvisedly,  lightly,  and  wantonly,"  most  of  all  by 
those  whose  nurture  has  most  trained  them  to  regard 
life  as  a  daily  scramble  for  food.  If  "  all  our  doings  " 
were  more  visibly  "  ordered  by  God's  governance," 
men  and  women  would  be  more  forced  than  at 
present  to  feel  that  individualistic  desire  is  insuffi- 
cient sanction  for  marriage. 

We  contend  that  the  Baptismal  Office  and  the 
Marriage  Office  set  forth  prime  human  truths,  funda- 
mental for  economic  and  industrial  science  as  well  as 
for  personal  holiness. 

The  first  thing  which  the  Church  of  England  Cate- 
chism teaches  every  child  is,  that  it  has  been  made 
a  member  of  Christ,  a  brother  in  the  Divine  human 
family,  an  inheritor  of  a  kingdom  of  spiritual  influ- 
ences, powers,  rights.  The  child  is  taught  that  it 
fights  against  its  Divine  constitution  and  environ- 
ment when  it  fails  to  live  as  a  member ;  and  it  is 
taught  that  this  is  what  its  own  private  Christian 
name  symbolizes  for  it  and  for  the  Church.  At  the 
very  moment  when  we  are  dwelling  on  the  person- 
ality of  the  individual,  we  are  taught,  as  the  first  truth 

1 54  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

of  the  Catholic  faith  concerning  the  individual,  that  he 
is,  by  his  Divine  creation  and  constitution,  a  member 
of  a  vast  organism,  an  integral,  vital,  perfect  part,  a 
limb  of  a  body  of  which  Christ  is  the  Head  ;  and 
that  he  has  been  divinely  born  into  an  inheritance 
which  is  nothing  less  than  the  spiritual  Kingdom.  The 
Christian  terminology  for  describing  every  individual 
is  essentially  organic,  economic,  social  language.  We 
cannot  keep  our  hands  off  political  economy  without 
ignoring  the  first  words  of  our  Catechism,  and  our 
fundamental  Christian  faith  concerning  every  human 
being.  We  can  only  regard  a  human  being  Chris- 
tianly,  we  can  only  regard  society  Christianly,  when 
we  see  in  each  human  being  a  member  of  the  whole 
sacred  body,  and  not  a  mere  excrescence  or  super- 
fluity. Our  Christianity  is  an  economy,  the  economy ; 
it  is  not  a  mere  salve,  or  string  of  texts,  for  those 
who  are  faint  or  beaten  amongst  a  horde  of  irre- 
sponsible scramblers  or  unprovided-for  tramps.  True, 
indeed,  "all  men  are  conceived  and  born  in  sin." 
But,  greater  truth  than  this,  "  God,  The  Son,  hath 
redeemed  me  and  all  mankind"  And  it  is  to  declare 
this,  of  all  mankind — body,  mind,  and  spirit — to 
declare  that  neither  multitudes  nor  sin  are  outside 
the  scope  and  power  of  the  redeemed  economy ;  it  is 
to  declare  and  effectuate  this  universal  economy,  that 
God  the  Holy  Spirit  consecrates  and  inhabits  His 



Assistant  Curate  of  St.  John's,  Great  Marlborough  Street. 

"For  with  Thee  is  the  Well  of  Life,  and  in  Thy  Light  shall  we  see 
Light. " — Ps.  xxxvi.  9. 

HOLY  Church  has,  with  a  strange  pertinacity,  per- 
sisted in  her  attachment  to  Art,  throughout  the  dark 
ages  of  Mammon's  triumph  in  which  our  lot  is  cast. 
The  dwellers  in  Philistia  have  wondered  at  her  fana- 
tical conduct :  just  as  they  could  see  nothing  but 
money-making  in  Life,  so  they  could  see  nothing 
but  man-millinery  in  Art.  "  Why  this  ridiculous 
attachment  to  mediaeval  forms  and  ceremonies  ? " 
they  have  been  crying,  "What  more  can  you  need 
in  public  worship,  than  a  smooth  frock-coat  and  a 
tumbler  of  water  ? "  Churchmen,  cankered  many  of 
them  by  the  commercial  worm,  wavered.  But  Holy 
Church  persisted,  in  the  teeth  of  prejudice  and  of 
persecution.  In  the  greater  part  of  her  the  old  lovely 
rites  continued,  with  only  some  loss  of  their  earlier 
purity ;  while  in  the  very  borders  of  the  Philistines  the 
ancient  spirit  flickered  on  ;  and  even  the  Dean  of  Gath 
could  not  do  worse  than  neglect  his  Cathedral ;  even 
the  Bishop  of  Askelon  suffered  the  incense  to  rise  in 
silent  protest  to  heaven,  under  his  very  nose. 

And  now  a  change  has  come  over  the  thought  of 
men.    Not  that  art  is  yet  revived,  but  men  are  getting 

156  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

to  feel  that  it  ought  to  be  revived.  It  is  indeed  still 
lost  among  us,  but  we  are  becoming  conscious  of  our 
loss.  And  the  result  is  that  men  are  everywhere 
getting  to  be  a  little  ashamed  of  having  reviled  the 
Church  for  so  consistently  holding  aloft  the  lamp  of 
Beauty.  They  are  beginning  to  realize  that  she  has 
in  fact  been  handing  on  the  light  (just  as  she  pre- 
served classical  literature  in  the  Middle  Ages),  and 
that  she,  and  she  almost  alone,  has  been  keeping 
alive  the  sacred  fire,  such  sparks  of  it  as  may  still  be 
smouldering  among  our  people. 

She  could  not  but  do  this,  because  it  is  her  function 
to  maintain  the  wholeness  and  oneness,  the  integrity 
of  the  Catholic  faith.  Not,  mark  you,  that  beauty  is 
more  than  one  side  of  life  and  religion,  but  that  it 
is  one  side,  and  less  than  the  whole  is  less  than  the 
Truth.  It  would  have  been  impossible  for  that  Body 
which  has  the  abiding  Spirit  of  God  to  fall  away 
from  the  integrity  of  truth.  If  she  had,  Christ's 
promise,  "  Lo,  I  am  with  you  alway,  even  to  the  end 
of  the  world,"  would  have  been  broken.  It  was 
not  then  a  mere  graceful  picturesqueness  that  Holy 
Church  stood  up  for  amid  the  ruins  of  art,  but  an 
essential  principle :  the  principle  of  the  integrity  of 
Life ;  the  principle  that  goodness  and  beauty  cannot 
be  opposed  ;  because  there  are  not  two  gods,  but  One 
God,  and  He  is  the  Source  alike  of  all  goodness, 
all  beauty,  all  truth.  "  Every  good  gift  and  every 
perfect  gift  is  from  above,  and  cometh  down  from 
the  Father  of  lights,  with  Whom  is  no  variableness, 
neither  shadow  of  turning." 

The  Church  then  has  to  maintain,  through  evil 
report  and  good  report,  the  integrity  of  life.  This  is 
why  she  has  had,  in  the  very  interests  of  purity,  to 
oppose  what  is  called  Puritanism.  For  Purity  is 
that  which  would  make  all  things  pure :  Puritanism 
is  that  which  would  make  most  things  impure. 

ART  AND  LIFE.  157 

And  the  effect  of  Puritanism  has  been,  not  only  to 
divert  its  votaries  from  art,  which  is  worship,  to 
covetousness,  which  is  idolatry, — not  only  that,  but 
Puritanism  is  also  responsible  for  the  reaction  against 
it  of  school  after  narrow  school  of  artists,  who  persist 
in  regarding  art  as  a  mere  plaything  for  the  well- 

Bohemia  is  but  a  sabbath-day's  journey  from 
Philistia.  Puritanism,  and  the  reactions  against  it, 
are  fundamentally  alike  :  they  alike  deny  our  great 
first-principle  of  the  integrity  of  life  ;  they  alike  refuse 
to  see  that  the  artist  is  the  fellow-worker  with  God — 
some  because  they  do  not  believe  in  art,  some  because 
they  do  not  believe  in  God,  and  many  because  they 
do  not  believe  in  either.  The  false  antithesis,  which 
popular  religion  suffered  between  goodness  and 
beauty,  has  in  fact  driven  the  artist  to  Bohemia. 
Nothing  else  can  explain  the  difference  between  the 
popular  artist  of  bygone  days,  who  "  painted  upon  his 
knees,"  and  the  popular  book-illustrator  of  to-day, 
whose  one  aim  in  life  seems  to  be  to  exclude  from 
his  work  everything  whatsoever  that  is  honest,  pure, 
lovely,  or  of  good  report,  and  if  there  be  any  virtue, 
or  any  praise,  not  to  think  on  these  things,  or  to  do 

Indeed  I  think  the  danger  to-day  is  not  so  much 
from  the  Puritanism  which  says  that  Art  is  immoral, 
as  from  the  reactionary  Hedonism  which  says  that  Art 
is  non-moral.  The  mawkish  sentimentality  in  painting, 
for  instance,  or  in  music,  which  was  the  only  kind  of 
art  that  the  self-styled  religious  world  would  tolerate  a 
few  years  ago,  has  driven  many  people  to  suppose  that 
no  art  is  perfect  without  a  spice  of  devilry.  And  we 
find  critics  reiterating  that  curious  doctrine  which  has 
become  memorable  in  one  famous  sentence — "The 
fact  of  a  man  being  a  poisoner  is  nothing  against  his 

158  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

"  Nothing  against  his  prose"!  Is  not  this  just 
Puritanism,  turned  inside  out?  And  this  shallow 
philosophy,  this  sectional  idea  of  life,  that  would  divide 
every  human  being  into  water-tight  compartments,  is 
doing  exactly  the  same  bad  work  as  Puritanism.  It 
lowers  the  value,  and  restricts  the  functions  of  Art. 
It  treats  Art  as  if  it  were  a  mere  decorative  adjunct 
of  life ;  forgetting  the  great  principle  of  Plato,  that 
"  Wrongness  of  form  and  the  lack  of  rhythm,  the  lack 
of  harmony,  are  fraternal  to  faultiness  of  mind  and 
character  "  ;  forgetting  that  decoration  is  but  a  means 
to  an  end,  and  that  this  end  is  the  manifestation  of 
the  harmony  and  loveliness  of  the  world,  the  grace 
and  power  of  man,  the  unity  of  life,  the  holiness  of 

And,  because  they  will  not  see  that  Art  is  the  out- 
ward and  visible  expression  of  that  inward  mystical 
grace  of  Beauty,  their  foolish  heart  is  darkened.  They 
pursue  each  his  own  slender  vein  of  talent ;  never 
broadening,  never  deepening  their  work,  but  content 
with  incessant  repetition  of  idea,  they  are  killing  Art 
by  gradual  dismemberment.  For,  though  they  found 
no  school  of  promise  for  the  future,  they  are  yet 
followed  by  a  host  of  narrow-souled  imitators  ;  and 
the  idle  crowd  of  ignorant  admirers  pick  up  the  tricks 
of  these  poor  gifted  men,  who  neither  reverence  the 
past  nor  hope  for  the  future. 

What  is  the  result  ?  A  complete  divorce  between 
Art  and  Life.  So  that,  in  a  paper  that  is  supposed 
to  be  enlightened,  there  recently  appeared  an  article 
on  the  architecture  of  London,  which  began  with  the 
assumption  (an  assumption  that  no  one  has  since 
taken  the  trouble  to  contradict)  that  art  is  only  for 
"  that  portion  of  the  community  which  has  money  to 
spend."  What  a  grotesque  result  of  the  doctrine  of 
"art  for  art's  sake"  !  What  an  irony  of  fate  that, 
having  dissociated  Art  from  God,  and  therefore  from 

ART  AND  LIFE.  159 

Life,  we  should  now  be  crying,  "  Art  for  Mammon's 
sake " !  Alas,  for  the  old  times  when  every  city 
reared  its  cluster  of  towers  and  roofs  within  its  city 
walls,  an  island  of  beauty  that  was  worthy  of  the  hills 
and  forests  and  meadows  which  surrounded  it !  Alas, 
for  the  time  when  a  whole  city  could  go  mad  with 
delight  over  one  beautiful  picture,  when  the  love  of 
all  lovely  things  was  so  widespread  that  every  village 
carpenter  and  every  village  blacksmith  was  an  artist, 
and  there  was  not  a  thing  produced  by  the  hand  of 
man  that  did  not  tell  of  the  harmony  between  the 
common  people  and  the  mind  of  God.  Alas  for  the 
time  !  For  now  we  are  promised  an  art  for  the  rich  ; 
an  art  that  will  leave  Life  untouched  with  the  beauty 
of  holiness ;  an  art  that  will  confine  itself  in  books 
and  in  picture-frames ;  an  art  that  will  caper  in  the 
drawing-rooms  of  those  who  live  upon  the  labour  of 
others ;  while  the  towns,  where  men  have  to  spend  their 
days,  are  to  continue  as  repulsive,  as  degrading,  as 
sordid,  squalid,  and  contemptible  as  ever.  And  we 
may  sit  all  our  lives — 

"  Revant  du  divin  Platon,  et  de  Phidias, 
Sous  1'oeil  clignotant  des  bleus  bees  de  gaz." 

My  friends,  this  is  not  possible.  Beauty  is  an 
attribute  of  God  :  Mammon  is  not.  We  must  choose : 
we  cannot  have  both.  At  the  present  day,  in  spite  of 
the  wonderful  revivals  of  art  among  us,  there  is  less 
beauty,  far  less,  in  the  world  than  there  was  fifty 
years  ago.  The  greater  part  of  our  churches  have 
been  ruined  by  unspeakable  restorations  ;  the  fairest 
towns,  like  Florence,  or  like  Oxford  (where  at  least 
one  might  have  expected  better  things),  have  been 
made  almost  unrecognizable  by  wanton  destruction, 
or  heartless,  careless,  stupid  rebuilding.  And  nearly 
the  whole  of  our  terrible  modern  architecture  has 
been  perpetrated  during  the  last  fifty  years. 

160  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

It  is  not  possible  !  If  we  use  art  as  the  embroidery 
of  idle  selfish  lives  it  will  die,  as  it  has  always  died 
when  put  to  such  use  in  the  past.  Love,  Truth, 
Beauty,  we  cannot  separate  them,  for  they  are  God  : 
we  must  have  all,  or  none.  Art,  to  be  possible  at  all 
in  any  real  sense,  must  be  founded  upon  them.  It 
cannot  be  a  thing  apart ;  as  Milton  finely  says,  "  He 
who  would  not  be  frustrate  of  his  hope  to  write  well 
hereafter  in  laudable  things,  ought  himself  to  be  a 
true  poem."  It  can  be  no  exotic,  no  artificial  hot- 
house plant  delicately  cherished  by  wealthy  patrons. 
It  must  spring  from  the  common  soil  of  the  whole 
people.  It  must  be  an  atmosphere  ;  we  must  drink 
it  in  wherever  we  go,  and  it  must  no  longer  be  true 
that,  while  God  makes  the  country,  the  Devil  makes 
the  town.  For  our  cities,  our  homes,  our  churches 
must  overflow  once  more  with  beauty  and  suggestion, 
if  Art  is  to  take  root  amongst  us.  We  may  paint 
pictures  till  the  crack  of  doom,  but  it  will  avail  us 
nothing,  until  we  have  learnt  the  paramount  necessity 
of  beautiful  surroundings  for  every  man,  woman,  and 
child  on  God's  beautiful  earth.  For  these,  it  is,  which 
mould  the  characters  of  men.  'Tis  our  primal  need, 
to  have  the  inspiration  of  lovely  things  about  us  :— 

"The  ways  through  which  my  weary  steps  I  guide 

In  this  delightful  land  of  Faery 
Are  so  exceeding  spacious  and  wide, 
And  sprinkled  with  such  sweet  variety 
Of  all  that  pleasant  is  to  ear  and  eye, 
That  I,  nigh  ravisht  with  rare  thought's  delight, 

My  tedious  travail  do  forget  thereby, 
And,  when  I  'gin  to  feel  decay  of  might, 
It  strength  to  me  supplies,  and  cheers  my  dulled  spright." 

That  is  what  art  is  for!  Not  for  the  idle  and 
luxurious,  but  for  the  weary  and  heavy  laden,  for 
those  who  their  "  tedious  travail  do  forget  thereby  : " 
not  for  mere  pleasure,  but  for  power  and  inspiration, — 
"  It  strength  to  me  supplies,  and  cheers  my  dulled 

ART  AND   LIFE.  161 

spright :  "  art,  not  for  art's  sake,  but  for  the  sake  of 
beauty,  and  of  truth,  for  the  sake  of  God.  "  Whatso- 
ever doth  make  manifest  is  light."  "  God  is  light, 
and  in  Him  is  no  darkness  at  all." 

Have  we  not  forgotten  this  ?  We  talk  nowadays 
about  Art,  as  the  editor  of  a  certain  religious  journal 
did  the  other  day,  who  described  the  wonderfully 
happy  condition  of  the  working-classes  by  saying 
that  art  now  abounded  in  their  homes,  because  of 
the  spread  of  cheap  prints !  And  complacently  we 
forget  that  we  have  exiled  art  from  our  midst. 
Open,  then,  your  eyes  to  the  fact  that  we  cannot 
raise  the  faintest  scintilla  of  art  among  our  people, 
that  we  cannot  even  make  a  single  church  thoroughly 
beautiful,  that  we  cannot  even  build  a  single  satisfactory 
public  building.  And  then  consider  what  we  have  lost. 

We  have  lost  the  atmosphere  of  inspiration,  the 
subtle  exalting  influence  that  Plato  valued  so  highly  ; 
we  have  lost  true  "  other- worldliness " — the  con- 
sciousness of  the  nearness  and  reality  of  the  other 
world  of  saints  and  angels  ;  we  no  longer  understand 
that  the  spirit  of  true  religion  is  everywhere,  in  street 
and  home,  and  every  day  of  the  week.  We  have 
put  God  out  of  sight,  and  out  of  mind.  We  have  got 
out  of  harmony  with  Nature,  which  God  has  made 
so  lavishly  beautiful.  For  God  knows  that  beauty  is 
essential  if  a  people  is  to  be  healthy  and  good  ;  but 
we  have  shut  out  the  very  sky  in  these  awful  cities  of 
ours,  where  everything  we  see  is  eloquent  of  Mammon, 
and  silent  about  God.  For  us  the  trees  bud  and  the 
flowers  open  in  vain.  We  have  destroyed  the  great 
refining  influence  of  life  ;  we  have  lost  tenderness, 
humility,  honesty  in  work,  the  belief  in  the  dignity  of 
labour.  We  have  become  narrow-souled,  and  narrow- 
minded,  with  vulgar  greedy  ways  of  living.  For  we 
have  split  up  the  integrity  of  life  :  so  that  the  Uni- 
versities know  nothing  about  art,  while  Bohemia  is 


i62  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

frivolously  unconcerned  about  the  great  problems  of 
existence.  The  freshness  and  joy  are  gone  from 
amongst  us : — 

"  The  world  is  too  much  with  us  ;  late  and  soon, 
Getting  and  spending,  we  lay  waste  our  powers, 
Little  we  see  in  Nature  that  is  ours ; 
We  have  given  our  lives  away,  a  sordid  boon  ! 
This  Sea  that  bares  her  bosom  to  the  moon ; 
The  winds  that  will  be  howling  at  all  hours, 
And  are  upgathered  now  like  sleeping  flowers  ; 
For  this,  for  everything,  we  are  out  of  tune  ! " 

And,  now,  I  want  to  lead  you  on  to  recognize  that 
no  social  reform  will  do  any  real  good  without  art. 
Not  only  because,  as  we  have  seen,  art  is  necessary 
for  the  support  and  exaltation  of  life,  but  also  because 
it  is  essential  to  the  dignity  of  Labour.  This  truth 
Ruskin  has  summed  up  in  one  sentence: — "Life 
without  industry  is  guilt,  and  industry  ^vitho^tt  art  is 

The  guilt  of  idleness,  the  brutality  of  mechanical 
work — here  you  have  the  two  main  causes  of  our 
secular  disease.  And,  as  I  began  by  showing  our 
indebtedness  to  Holy  Church,  let  me  draw  two  illus- 
trations from  the  present  degradation  of  ecclesiastical 
art.  What  that  degradation  is,  every  one  knows  who 
has  been  inside  any  church,  and  seen  the  blatant 
commercialism  of  modern  church-decoration 1 ;  the 
Brummagem  brass-work  that  is  turned  out  by  the 
great  "  ecclesiastical  art  furnishers,"  who  are  neither 
ecclesiastical,  nor  artistic,  nor  competent  to  furnish ; 
the  miserable  hangings  and  vestments,  that  are  with- 
out character,  or  suggestion,  or  beauty  of  any  kind— 
every  one,  I  say,  knows,  who  can  realize  the  melancholy 
heartless  degradation  of  the  whole  thing.  And  those 
who  are  sensible  to  such  matters  know  too  how  the 

1  This  is  the  more  inexcusable,  since  everything  beautiful  that  a 
Church  can  need  may  be  bought  at  William  Morris'  (449,  Oxford  Street), 
where  the  moral  of  "  Art  and  Life  "  is  in  practical  application, 

ART   AND   LIFE.  163 

soul  is  untuned  by  this  abounding  evidence  of  greed 
and  vanity  and  unloveliness.  But  few  realize  that  all 
this  means,  not  the  degradation  of  our  churches  alone, 
but  the  degradation  of  every  workman  whom  they 
have  employed. 

To  my  illustrations.  Only  a  few  days  ago  I  was 
called  in  by  a  priest  to  inspect  the  new  side-altar  he 
was  having  put  up  in  his  church.  He  had  employed 
a  well-known  firm  of  church-furnishers,  and  what  had 
they  done  ?  They  had  simply  turned  over  the  leaves 
of  their  catalogue,  and  had  ordered  a  No.  68  altar ! 
Could  anything  be  more  horrible?  Think  of  the 
lives  of  the  workmen  who  spend  the  whole  of  their 
existence  making  No.  68  altars  !  You  wonder  at  the 
brutalizing  of  our  people  ;  but  what  can  you  expect, 
when  even  skilled  workmen  are  employed  in  this 
way,  with  no  interest,  no  pleasure,  no  chance  of  im- 
parting a  spark  of  their  own  selves  to  the  work  ?  You 
wonder  at  the  strange  incompetence  of  modern  work- 
men, at  the  extraordinary  want  of  intelligence  in 
what  they  do  ;  but  compare  their  daily  lives  with  that 
of  a  journalist,  a  lawyer,  a  physician,  compare  them 
with  that  of  a  workman  in  the  Middle  Ages,  and 
think  of  the  dulness  of  the  one,  of  the  absorbing 
interest  of  the  other ;  and  then  you  will  understand 
how  it  is  there  is  such  a  striking  difference  between 
workmen  and  other  men,  nowadays.  You  will  under- 
stand what  the  freedom  and  strength  of  the  mediaeval 
workmen  was,  and  why  they  could  be  let  loose  in  a 
cathedral  to  carve  what  they  liked,  and  to  produce 
those  wonderful  creations  that  we  find  it  impossible 
even  to  imitate, — even  when  we  import  Italian  masons 
to  do  the  work  for  us. 

My  second  illustration  bears  its  moral  too  plainly 
for  comment.  It  is  this.  A  few  weeks  ago  a  com- 
mittee of  clergy  and  churchwardens  were  engaged  in 
discussion  as  to  whether  contracts  for  a  new  parish 

1 64  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

building  should  be  accepted,  unless  the  recognized 
fair  rate  of  wages  were  paid.  The  committee  turned 
for  an  opinion  to  the  representative  of  one  of  our  best- 
known  church  architects.  "  Oh/'  said  he,  "  my  chief 
never  concerns  himself  with  labour  questions." 

Never  concerns  himself  with  labour  questions ! 
Here  lies,  surely,  the  explanation  of  the  utter  deadness 
of  architecture  amongst  us.  For  you  cannot  recover 
even  the  art  of  masonry,  while  labour  is  treated  with 
this  contempt.  You  can  never  have  the  simplest 
architecture  again  until  you  have  free  and  intelligent 
and  happy  workers, — never  until  the  architect  learns 
that  the  workman  is  an  artist,  and  the  artist  a  work- 

And,  what  is  true  of  architecture  is  true  of  all  work. 
No  art  will  rise  in  our  midst,  and  no  happy  society 
will  be  possible,  till  we  learn  that  great  Christian 
truth  of  the  dignity  of  labour.  Thus  is  art  bound  up 
with  life.  Without  leisure  and  pleasure  in  work,  no 
amount  of  culture,  or  of  criticism,  or  of  cant  about 
high  art,  will  be  of  the  slightest  use.  Leisure,  the 
workman  must  have,  that  he  may  become  what  he 
once  was,  a  craftsman, — not  rest  only,  but  leisure  to 
live,  to  read,  think,  converse,  and  look  on  the  face 
of  nature, — leisure  that  he  may  have  life. 

And  pleasure  too  in  the  work  itself.  Impossible ! 
you  say,  as  you  think  of  the  dull  repulsive  round  of 
daily  drudgery,  when  men  are  either  machines,  or 
the  servants  of  machines.  Why  is  it  impossible  ?  Just 
because  of  our  contempt  for  human  life ;  because  we 
regard  money-making  as  the  end  of  production ; 
because  we  have  forgotten  that  the  life  is  more  than 
meat,  and  the  body  than  raiment.  And  yet  pleasure 
in  work  has  only  become  generally  impossible  in 
recent  times ;  it  is  not  a  law  of  nature.  Indeed  no 
intelligent  theist  could  ever  believe  it  to  be  God's 
will,  that  men  should  sit  the  livelong  day,  amid 

ART  AND  LIFE.  165 

rattling  brutalizing  machinery,  or  bending  over  some 
office  desk,  grinding  at  some  paltry  mechanical  toil, 
till  all  the  heart  and  soul,  the  fellowship,  and  zest  in 
life,  is  crushed  out  of  them.  And  therefore  I  am 
rejoiced  that,  through  that  wonderful  book  "  Merrie 
England,"  our  people  are  at  last  being  taught  the 
value  of  simple  natural  lives,  the  folly  of  our  hideous 
machine-slavery.  For  it  is  deeply,  vitally,  true,  that 
only  in  proportion  as  work  becomes  more  pleasing, 
more  interesting,  more  noble,  will  the  people  come 
to  love  their  work  ;  and  just  as  they  love  their  work 
more,  so  will  they  be  more  industrious,  more  con- 
tented, and  finer,  better,  manlier  men. 

Thus  is  Life  bound  up  with  Art.  And  therefore, 
in  the  name  of  the  toiling  millions,  in  the  name  of 
Christ,  Whose  brethren  they  are,  I  appeal  to  you  to 
fight  the  miserable  partial  views  of  life  around  you. 
It  is  we  Christians  who  will  have  to  show  the  world 
that  all  good  and  perfect  things  are  at  one,  for  we 
believe  in  the  Divine  at-one-ment ;  and  we  know, 
surely  we  must  know,  the  infinite  preciousness  of 
human  life,  the  dignity  of  human  labour.  Thus, 
having  learnt  that  those  men  are  educated  whose 
work  educates  them,  those  men  temperate  whose 
work  gives  them  healthy  lives  and  pure  instincts, 
those  men  free  whose  labour  raises  them  above  the 
fear  of  slavery,  we  shall  be  able,  in  labour  as  well  as 
in  leisure,  to  be  imitators  of  Him,  Whose  supreme 
attribute  is  the  powei  of  creating.  We  shall  worship 
Him  in  the  beauty  of  holiness  ;  and  in  all  our  worship 
we  shall  not  forget  that  work  too  is  worship,  laborare 
est  orare,  to  labour  is  to  pray. 

Ah !  it  is  Life  that  we  have  despised,  the  very  art 
of  living  that  we  have  forgotten.  And  yet  He  came 
that  we  might  have  Life,  and  that  we-  might  have  it 
more  abundantly. 





"  Blow  the  trumpet  in  Zion,  sanctify  a  fast,  call  a  solemn  assembly  : 
gather  the  people,  sanctify  the  congregation,  assemble  the  elders, 
gather  the  children,  and  those  that  suck  the  breasts  :  let  the  bride- 
groom go  forth  of  his  chamber,  and  the  bride  out  of  her  closet.  Let 
the  priests,  the  ministers  of  the  Lord,  weep  between  the  porch  and 
the  altar,  and  let  them  say,  Spare  Thy  people,  O  Lord,  and  give  not 
Thine  heritage  to  reproach,  that  the  heathen  should  rule  over  them  : 
wherefore  should  they  say  among  the  people,  Where  is  their  God  ?  " — 
JOEL  ii.  15-17. 

THE  trumpet  that  is  blown  in  Zion  rallies  the  entire 
people  to  a  public  and  national  act.  And  the  ground 
of  its  demand  for  such  an  act  is  that  the  shame 
that  has  brought  that  conviction  is  itself  public  and 
national.  It  is  the  visible  disgrace  of  the  Lord's 
heritage  in  the  eyes  of  the  heathen  world.  Something 
is  wrong  with  it  as  a  whole.  It  stands  there,  in  the 
face  of  day,  convicted  of  failure,  suffering  under 
inevitable  reproach.  No  one  can  mistake  the  signs 
of  decay,  of  spiritual  impotence.  The  heathen  spec- 
tators, watching  round,  taunt  it,  as  a  thing  that  is 
obviously  broken,  deserted,  condemned.  "  Where  is 
now  their  God,"  they  ask,  "  of  Whom  they  made  so 
much  ?  " 

A  public  dereliction  !  That  is  the  fact  before  them. 
And  that  implies,  at  once,  a  public  sin,  which  has 
brought  the  shame  about.  What  is  it  ?  Not  enough 
to  search  this  or  that  individual  conscience  ;  not 

170  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

enough  to  detect  this  or  that  personal  lapse.  Nay ! 
the  sin  is  the  nation's  own,  in  its  integral  character. 
It  must  discover,  confess,  bewail  it,  in  its  broad  unity, 
through  its  official  representatives,  under  its  tradi- 
tional and  constitutional  forms.  "  Blow  the  trumpet ! " 
Startle  these  people  at  their  business,  in  their 
pleasures,  in  the  privacy  of  their  homes,  amid  all 
their  multitudinous  occupations.  Tell  them  that 
something  more  goes  forward  now  than  their  own 
personal  affairs.  Wake !  Rouse !  Alarm !  Make 
them  lift  their  heads,  as  they  toil  in  the  shop,  as  they 
chaffer  in  the  market,  as  they  sit  round  the  hearth, 
as  they  dispute  in  the  schools.  "  Blow  the  trumpet 
in  Zion ! "  Bid  them  swarm  from  their  houses. 
Everything  private  must  cease.  It  is  the  nation  that 
takes  precedence.  "  Call  a  solemn  assembly  :  gather 
the  people,  sanctify  the  congregation."  And  because 
it  is  a  public  act,  therefore  let  the  elders,  the  corporate 
officers,  take  their  appointed  places.  Let  the  priests, 
with  whom  is  lodged  the  responsibility  of  national 
speech,  play  their  due  part,  at  the  set  spot  between 
porch  and  altar.  Let  them  cry,  on  behalf  of  all, 
"  Spare  us,  good  Lord,  spare  us  !  Spare  Thy  people ! 
Give  not  Thine  heritage  to  reproach  ! " 

A  national  act!  It  is  paramount  over  all  indi- 
vidual accidents  of  interest  or  happiness.  Is  this 
man  joyful  ?  Is  that  man  busy  ?  Let  all  this  yield 
and  cease.  The  shadow  of  the  people's  penitence  falls 
across  the  sunlight  of  man's  days,  and  wipes  out  all 
the  varied  distinction  of  their  many-coloured  doings. 
No  private  claim  can  stand  in  face  of  the  larger, 
deeper  demand.  Not  even  the  blessed  love  of  man 
or  maiden  newly  wed.  That  might  be  suffered  by 
kindly  Jewish  law  to  excuse  a  soldier  from  his  service 
in  the  field.  But  now  it  may  not  justify  its  joy.  No 
answer  can  be  tolerated  which  ventures  to  plead,  "  I 
have  married  a  wife,  therefore  I  cannot  come."  No ! 


it  must  postpone  its  delight.  "  Let  the  bridegroom 
come  forth  from  his  chamber,  and  the  bride  out  of  her 
closet ; "  "  And  let  them  weep  between  the  porch  and 
the  altar."  Nor  is  it  a  matter  of  the  degree  of  personal 
responsibility  or  personal  guilt.  No  one  need  turn 
to  ask,  "  How  far  was  I  aware  of  the  nation's  sin  ? 
In  what  measure  did  I  partake  ?  "  Nay  !  the  most 
innocent  fall  under  the  ban.  The  very  children,  whose 
light  hearts  acquit  them  of  all  knowledge  of  what 
the  sin  may  be — the  very  infants  who  have  never 
yet  left  the  warm  white  peace  of  a  mother's  bosom — 
even  these  are  drawn  within  the  range  of  this  black 
sorrow  ;  they  are  sharers,  through  their  flesh  and 
blood,  with  the  deeds  that  have  been  done.  For  the 
nation  constitutes  one  organic  thing  :  it  moves  along 
the  lines  of  its  fate,  as  an  integral  mass,  governed  by 
a  single  momentum,  and  all  are  swept  along  in  the 
current.  The  action  is  collective,  is  corporate,  is 
organic.  It  cannot  be  sorted  out,  in  retail  portions 
of  separate  responsibility,  to  this  one  or  to  that.  All 
are  one,  and  all  are  implicated.  Gather  them  all ! 
Gather  the  children.  "  Gather  the  very  babes  that 
suck  the  breasts  !  "  That  is  the  imperious,  shattering 
cry  of  the  trumpet  which  is  to  be  blown  in  Zion  ! 
Its  voice  is  irresistible.  It  penetrates  every  nook  and 
corner.  It  suffers  nothing  to  escape  or  be  excused. 
It  can  permit  but  one  passion  to  be  felt — the  passion 
of  a  pleading  penitence.  It  can  allow  but  one  word 
to  be  heard  in  all  the  holy  city.  "  Spare  Thy  people, 
O  Lord,  and  let  not  Thy  heritage  be  put  to  reproach. 
Wherefore  should  the  heathen  say,  Where  is  now 
thy  God  ?  " 

So  positive,  so  unhesitating,  is  the  Bible  in  asserting 
the  national  and  collective  character  of  conscience. 
It  conceives  an  entire  nation  engaged  in  public  and 
concerted  repentance  for  a  public  and  collective 
wrong.  And  our  Prayer-book,  by  giving  us  this 

172  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

passage  as  the  keynote  of  Christian  Lent,  endorses 
and  emphasizes  the  reality  of  the  conception. 

Yet,  somehow,  we  are  always  being  told,  we  half 
persuade  ourselves,  that  a  conscience  can  only  be 
individual ;  that  the  sense  of  spiritual  obligation  to 
God,  such  as  is  obviously  involved  in  an  act  of 
penitence,  can  only  be  a  private  and  personal  concern 
of  the  individual  soul ;  that  it  is  absurd  to  demand 
of  a  corporate  body,  or  of  a  nation,  a  sense  of  moral 
responsibility  or  a  consciousness  of  guilt. 

Now,  I  would  challenge  this  statement,  that  con- 
science is  an  individual  concern,  at  the  very  outset, 
by  asking  whether  the  exact  opposite  be  not  nearer 
the  truth.  Could  a  conscience  exist  at  all,  if  it  were 
merely  individual  ?  Can  the  mere  individual  man 
account  for  his  having  a  conscience  ?  If  he  were 
quite  alone,  and  had  no  necessary  relationship  to 
any  other  being,  would  the  language  of  conscience, 
of  moral  obligation,  have  any  meaning?  We  talk 
of  a  man's  duty  to  himself;  but  we  are  aware,  as 
we  do  so,  that  we  are  using  a  metaphor.  Duty, 
obligation, — these  are  binding  terms  ;  they  imply  that 
the  man  is  under  a  moral  compulsion;  he  owns 
allegiance  to  a  Power  that  he  did  not  create,  and 
cannot  disown.  Something  outside  and  beyond  him 
is  involved.  His  life  is  assumed  to  have  wider 
horizons  than  belong  to  it  in  its  purely  self-regarding, 
self-contained  character.  Whenever  a  man  solemnly 
assures  us  that  he  is  bound  by  his  conscience  to 
do  whatever  he  likes  best,  or  to  seek  his  own  highest 
interest,  he  is  greeted  by  us  with  the  smile  that  he 
deserves.  And  the  ethical  systems  that  start  with  the 
individual  as  such,  complete  in  himself,  necessarily 
set  themselves  to  explain  away  conscience,  as  a 
deposit  of  past  habits  ;  as  a  shorthand  sign  for  for- 
gotten experiences  ;  as  a  mechanical  result  of  accumu- 
lated racial  experiments  ;  as  anything  but  what  it  is. 


No!  conscience  cannot  exist  without  witnessing  to 
some  relationship  in  which  the  soul  stands  to  some- 
thing beyond  it.  What  is  this  something  ?  It  can- 
not be  anything  unconscious,  material,  mechanical. 
No  one  ever  felt  himself  bound  by  his  conscience  to 
conform  to  the  law  of  gravitation.  It  is  a  moral 
relationship  that  is  implied,  and  morality  exists  only 
for  persons.  The  obligation  which  conscience  asserts 
can  only  be  an  obligation  of  a  person  to  a  person. 
That  is  why,  if  once  we  become  satisfied  that  such  a 
thing  as  conscience  exists,  we  have  by  that  very  fact 
arrived  at  a  necessary  proof  for  the  existence  of 
God ;  since  the  very  terms  which  we  use  to  express 
moral  obligation  are  only  intelligible  in  relation  to  a 
Personality  in  which  we  adhere,  and  to  which  we  are 
bound.  Far,  then,  from  conscience  being  individual 
in  its  character,  it  is  dual,  it  is  social,  in  its  very 
essence.  It  requires  two  persons,  at  least — God  and 
man — in  relation  to  one  another,  to  create  a  con- 
science at  all. 

But  more :  conscience  cannot  be  confined  to  an 
act  of  the  soul  alone  with  its  God.  For,  in  making 
its  judgment,  in  becoming  aware  of  its  obligation,  it 
is  forced  to  conceive  of  itself  as  typical,  as  represen- 
tative of  all  men.  Any  act  that  claims  to  be  con- 
scientious, denies,  by  that  claim,  that  it  is  peculiar  to 
any  one  individual.  It  must  mean  that  it  is  such  an 
act  as  every  one  would  own  to  be  equally  obligatory 
under  identical  conditions.  It  must  be  an  act  that 
witnesses  to  a  law  which  is  independent  of  private 
and  personal  varieties.  The  moral  necessity  must  be 
recognizable  by  all  as  carrying  its  proper  and  un- 
alterable authority  with  it.  The  particular  conditions 
under  which  it  occurs  may  be  wholly  unique ;  it 
may  be  impossible  for  them  to  reoccur.  Yet  still 
we  must  mean  that  any  man  in  the  world,  if  he  had 
ever  found  himself  in  that  situation,  must  have  done 

174  A    LENT  IN  LONDON 

that  one  thing.  Any  act  that  is  the  duty  of  one  man 
must  be  capable  of  becoming  a  fundamental  axiom 
for  all  men ;  so  that  no  one  can  profess  to  obey  his 
conscience  without  acknowledging  thereby  that  he 
and  all  men  have  a  common  identity  and  a  common 

Conscience,  then,  is  essentially  social.  It  is  the 
personal  confession  of  our  human  unity.  And,  as 
such,  it  constitutes  the  root-force  of  all  civic  coher- 
ence. No  society  can  endure  for  a  moment  that 
has  no  conscience.  This  truth  is  expressed  in  its 
lowest  and  in  its  most  vivid  terms  by  the  saying, 
"Honour  among  thieves."  A  gang  of  burglars 
cannot  carry  through  a  bit  of  business  unless  they 
can  secure  the  stability  of  a  common  standard  by 
which  their  behaviour  to  one  another  is  fixed.  There 
must  be  the  germ  of  a  spiritual  conscience  at  the 
back  of  their  common  action.  So,  again,  if  "  a  com- 
pany "  had  indeed  "  no  conscience,"  it  would  not  only 
have  fallen  below  the  level  of  thieves,  but  it  would 
cease  to  be  a  company,  for  it  would  be  incapable  of 
holding  together.  Indeed,  the  inhumanity  of  "  a  com- 
pany," which  the  phrase  is  often  used  to  justify,  is 
generally  defended  on  the  ground  that  the  directors 
are  responsible  to  the  shareholders  for  every  penny 
they  spend ;  which  is  a  plea,  of  course,  that  the  com- 
pany has  a  conscience,  and  a  very  rigid  one,  which  it 
is  forbidden  to  ignore. 

Conscience,  then,  is  essentially  a  social  organ  ;  and 
human  society  is  an  expression  of  conscience.  How 
does  it  express  it?  (i)  By  law,  and  (2)  by  custom. 

(i)  The  entire  body  of  law,  administrative  and 
criminal,  is  the  record  deposited  by  a  people  of  the 
moral  standard  to  which  it  has  attained  in  handling 
its  social  responsibilities.  We  all  know  this,  in  the 
broad.  We  turn  back  to  Egyptian,  to  Roman,  to 
Mosaic  law,  and  can  estimate  at  once  the  degree 


of  sensitiveness  with  which  the  public  conscience  was 
then  alive.  We  can  note  its  measure  of  the  sanctity 
of  human  life,  of  individual  freedom,  of  neighbourly 
duties.  And  so,  to-day,  our  public  law  tests  the 
virility  of  our  social  conscience.  It  is  the  evidence 
of  its  condition.  We  find  this  out  in  a  moment,  if 
we  attempt  to  work  a  law  which  is  unsupported  by 
the  public  conscience.  It  may  be  the  best  law  in 
the  world,  admirably  framed,  towards  the  most 
excellent  ends.  But  it  will  lie  absolutely  idle  on  the 
Statute-book,  it  will  prove  totally  inefficient,  if  it 
has  not  behind  it,  as  a  motive  force,  the  moral 
consent  of  the  nation.  So,  again,  if  once  the  criminal 
law  attempts  to  stamp  as  a  public  crime  that  which 
the  public  conscience  refuses  to  condemn,  there  is 
an  impasse,  a  dead-lock.  The  law  will  not  work ; 
it  is  discredited ;  it  spreads  demoralization  and  a 
distrust  of  all  law.  We  have,  alas !  learned  this  over 
and  over  again,  through  many  an  agony,  in  Ireland. 
Law  does  not,  of  course,  attempt  to  cover  the  whole 
field  of  morality  as  it  affects  the  personal  conscience  ; 
but  there  is  a  public  moral  sense  of  what  it  is  rightful 
to  attempt  under  state  responsibility,  and  what  not ; 
and  it  is  this  moral  sense  which  is  the  vital  and 
essential  soul  of  all  public  law,  without  which  its 
mechanism  will  not  move.  A  nation's  law  is  an 
index  of  the  normal  level  which  the  social  conscience 
has  attained. 

(2)  And  round  and  about  a  nation's  positive 
law  lies  the  immense  ring  of  its  public  customs. 
These  are  the  richest  and  most  delicate  evidence 
of  its  social  conscience.  In  these  is  fixed  the 
indelible  record  by  which  we  can  tell  exactly  what 
is  the  value  it  sets  on  the  human  brotherhood, 
on  women,  on  children,  on  labour,  on  service.  We 
see  precisely  what,  as  a  body  corporate,  it  honours 
and  what  it  despises  ;  what  it  prizes  and  what  it 

1 76  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

neglects ;  what  are  its  public  ideals  and  what  its 
public  fears.  And  this,  not  accidentally,  not  accord- 
ing to  individual  temperament,  but  according  to  the 
recognized  moral  instincts,  which  are  the  common 
property  of  the  nation  at  large,  and  which  are  realised 
in  their  permanent  body  of  custom. 

English  law,  English  custom, — by  these,  then,  this 
social  conscience  here  in  England  puts  itself  in 
evidence.  By  these,  it  submits  to  judgment.  These 
are  not  merely  protective  defences  to  shield  us  from 
dangerous  incursions,  or  to  prevent  us  from  hitting 
one  another  over  the  head.  They  are  the  positive 
expression  of  our  belief  that  England,  as  a  whole,  is 
responsible  for  the  character  and  fashion  of  English 
life ;  that  she  has  her  own  peculiar  methods  and 
principles,  by  which  she  controls  and  directs  her  own 
development,  and  shapes  it  to  a  worthy  fulfilment. 
Here,  in  law  and  custom,  all  may  see  and  know  how 
England  understands  her  own  work,  as  compared 
with  France,  Germany,  Russia ;  how  Englishmen 
undertake  their  public  responsibilities ;  what  an 
Englishman  understands  by  an  English  civilization. 

Well,  what  is  it?  How  does  he  understand  it? 
What  is  this  scene  to  which  he  would  invite  a 
foreigner,  saying,  "  Look !  there  is  what  we  English- 
men have  made  of  England !  There  is  the  genuine 
sample  of  our  free,  self-governing  community  !  Look  ! 
there  is  a  city  such  as  we  English  build.  There  is 
the  existence  which,  by  law  and  by  custom,  we  free 
Englishmen  have  laboriously  contrived.  Let  the 
historian  come  and  note  it  all  down,  as  the  sample 
of  what  Englishmen  can  do  to  make  human  society 
fair  and  honourable  and  pure." 

Ah !  the  bitter  irony  of  such  a  proposal  as  we  look 
out  of  railway  windows,  in  our  passage  to  and  fro  from 
city  to  suburb,  at  that  dismal  sight,  which  can  never, 
surely,  lose  its  amazement  and  its  terror.  That  sordid 


monotony  of  hideous  streets  into  which  we  look  as  we 
hurry  through  !  Those  dingy,  dismal,  contemptible 
courts  !  The  huddled  filth  of  the  back  yards  !  How 
did  it  all  come  about  ?  How  was  it  that  we,  by  our 
united  efforts,  arrived  at  such  a  result  as  that  ?  What 
temper  was  it,  what  belief,  what  moral  code,  that  went 
to  the  making  of  it  ?  What  public  standard  was  there 
at  work  in  the  minds  of  all  those  who  brought  it  to 
pass,  as  to  the  value  of  human  life ;  as  to  its  proper 
and  natural  environment ;  as  to  the  type  of  dwelling 
that  was  fit  for  men  and  women  to  live  in,  for 
children  to  be  born  and  bred  in  ?  How  was  it  that 
builders  considered  these  houses  adequate  for  their 
purpose ;  that  municipal  inspectors  were  satisfied 
that  they  could  not  require  anything  better  ?  How 
did  it  come  to  pass  that  any  one  had  the  face  to 
take  a  rent  for  them — and  a  high  rent,  too  ?  How  is 
it  that  a  civilized  Christian  society  has  failed,  by  the 
weight  of  its  moral  judgment,  to  make  such  things 
inconceivable,  intolerable  ?  Are  not  these  the  ques- 
tions that  storm  again  at  the  heart's  doors,  as  we 
rush  along,  for  instance,  in  some  express  through  the 
heart  of  the  Black  Midlands  ?  A  train  gives  us  so 
valuable  an  outlook,  because  it  shows  us  exactly 
what  our  life  would  appear  to  a  spectator  carried 
through  it,  carried  close  to  it,  yet  so  far  a  stranger 
that  he  can  retain  a  free  judgment,  unswayed  by 
daily  familiarity  or  local  prejudice.  And  as  we  fly 
past  those  degraded  ash-heaps,  to  which  men  are 
not  ashamed  to  give  names,  as  if  they  were  human 
towns ;  as  we  catch  sight  of  the  few  dirty,  rackety 
boards,  loosely  nailed  together,  which  are  called 
Stations ;  as  we  see  the  sodden,  naked  wastes  of 
rubble  where  alone  the  children  have  space  to  play 
and  breathe ;  as  we  note  the  slimy  foulness  of  the 
canals  where  the  poor  boys  are  struggling  to  bathe  ; 
as  our  souls  sink  under  all  the  wilful  infamy  of 


178  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

the  smoke-burdened  skies ;  we  learn  to  gauge  the 
contempt  for  human  life  of  which  all  this  baseness 
is  the  embodiment.  Contempt !  Public  social  con- 
tempt for  human  beings !  This  alone  can  explain 
why  it  was  not  thought  worth  while  to  meet  the 
common  human  needs  with  a  little  more  attention, 
a  little  more  honour.  No  one  who  valued  the  body 
and  soul  of  a  man  could  have  given  him  such  homes 
to  house  in.  No  one  who  loved  a  child  could  ever 
have  had  the  heart  to  say,  "  There  !  that  black  heap 
of  refuse  from  a  coal-pit  is  all  we  can  afford  you  for 
a  playground."  Yet  we  English  people  do  love  our 
own  children,  and  in  our  own  homes  cherish  rever- 
ence and  affection  for  one  another.  Yes !  it  is  not 
the  private  standard  that  is  deficient.  Privately, 
we  do  not  despise  human  instincts  and  human 
charities.  The  English  love  of  hearth  and  family 
survives  in  its  traditional  strength.  But  all  this 
kindly  moral  impulse  is  arrested,  somehow,  at  the 
house  door.  Outside — in  the  ordaining  of  the  public 
life,  in  the  framing  of  our  towns — there  is  no  public 
conscience  that  carries  into  general  action  the  inner 
mind  of  the  English  home,  and  demands  that,  in  the 
city  as  in  the  house,  humanity  shall  be  handled  with 
respect,  with  reverence,  with  tenderness,  with  some 
touch  of  delicate  affection.  Therefore  it  is  that  we 
have  suffered  these  horrible  growths  to  defile  the 
face  of  fair  England,  because  the  social  conscience 
pitches  its  demands  at  so  terribly  low  a  level.  It 
enforces  so  pitiful  an  estimate  of  what  humanity 
needs  for  a  dwelling-place.  It  uplifts  no  fixed  standard 
to  which  honourable  men  recognize  their  obligation 
to  conform.  It  carries  with  it  so  little  of  rebuke,  to 
shame  and  to  confound  those  who,  in  the  pursuit  of 
their  private  interests,  have  created,  or  profited  by,  so 
ignominious  a  scandal. 

Positive   law   is,    indeed,   beginning    to    insist   on 


some  rudimentary  decency  and  fitness  in  buildings 
intended  for  man  to  live  in.  But  law,  unsupported, 
toil  in  vain  against  ingrained  custom.  Nothing  but 
the  pressure  of  the  public  conscience  can  avail  to  lift 
our  corporate  life  to  a  better  level.  It  alone  can 
stem  the  multitudinous  force  of  private  greeds,  in 
face  of  which  we,  for  all  our  regrets,  find  ourselves 
so  impotent.  For  are  we  not  impotent  ?  Individually, 
we,  each  one  of  us,  bewail  what  our  cities  have 
already  become  ;  and  yet  we  still  sit  by  and  permit 
the  same  rush  of  private  speculation  to  reproduce 
the  old  intolerable  conditions  wherever  populations 
are  now  spreading  for  the  first  time.  Private  regrets 
have  proved  powerless  to  prevent  these  things. 

And  therefore  it  is  that  we  bid  you  come  together 
from  out  of  your  own  private  concerns  and  affairs  in 
Lent,  and  consider  seriously,  urgently,  how  to  rein- 
force the  social  conscience  which  is  still  so  far  behind 
its  work.  Therefore  it  is  that  there  is  need  to  sound 
a  loud  call  in  Zion.  The  reproach  is  a  public 
reproach.  The  responsibility  is  a  public  responsi- 
bility. Let  us  bemoan  together  a  common  neglect. 
Let  us  face  a  common  task.  Let  each  look  out 
from  his  own  sins,  and  view  the  public  peril.  Let 
each  lay  the  burden  home  on  his  own  soul.  Nothing 
will  be  changed  until  the  public  conscience  changes 
its  demands.  Therefore  we  say,  "  Let  the  trumpet 
blow,  and  gather  the  people,  and  sanctify  the  congre- 
gation. Assemble  the  elders.  Let  the  priests,  the 
ministers  of  the  Lord,  weep  between  porch  and  altar, 
saying,  Spare  Thy  people,  O  Lord!  give  not  Thine 
heritage  to  reproach  !  Wherefore  should  the  heathen 
say,  Where  is  now  thy  God  ?  " 



REV.   E.    F.   RUSSELL,  M.A., 

Assistant  Curate  of  St.  Alban's,  Holborn. 

IT  is  no  longer  possible  for  any  of  us,  on  any  plea, 
to  stand  off  and  take  no  part  in  the  great  social 
movement  which  at  this  moment  is  running  politics 
so  close  for  the  place  of  the  dominant  English  in- 

Things  have  gone  too  far  to  be  decently  ignored. 
A  new  order,  like  a  new  flower  upon  an  ancient  stock, 
is  opening  under  our  eyes  ;  a  new  patriotism,  with  its 
new  ideals  of  national  greatness,  has  captured  the 
hearts  of  large  numbers  of  the  younger  men,  putting 
dreams  there,  and  the  hope  of  good  days  to  come,  and 
the  will  to  labour  for  their  coming.  Whether  or  no 
the  movement  be  right  in  principle  and  action,  to  be 
neutral  is  to  be  disloyal  to  the  truth.  If  we  cannot 
defend,  we  must  attack ;  there  is  no  logical  resting- 
place  intermediate  between  the  two  positions.  The 
pretence  of  a  philosophic  caution  and  suspense  of 
judgment  until  all  the  facts  are  known,  weighed, 
organized,  and  reduced  to  a  perfect  rule  of  practice, 
is  in  most  cases  but  a  thin  mask  to  hide  mental  or 
physical  indolence,  or  the  poor  vanity  of  appearing 
as  a  superior  person  ;  as  one  who,  with  dispassionate 
mind,  surveys  the  battle  from  high  ground  and — be 
it  said — is  safe  ! 


To  withhold  our  adhesion  to  any  cause  until  we 
are  entirely  satisfied  with  all  its  methods,  and  are 
assured  that  all  its  chiefs  are  omniscient  and  all  our 
associates  impeccable,  is  surely  to  fail  in  modesty, 
and  is  about  as  reasonable  as  to  refuse  our  help  at  a 
fire  because  in  our  judgment  the  plan  of  procedure  is 
not  the  best,  and  the  pumps  not  scientific  in  con- 
struction. Fire  will  not  wait  for  us,  and  human  need 
will  not  wait.  We  cannot  postpone  it  to  suit  our 
convenience.  While  we  delay,  men  suffer  and  die, 
opportunities  pass  never  to  return,  and  huge  evils 
establish  themselves  impregnably.  With  what  power 
and  equipment  we  have,  be  it  small  or  great,  we 
must  bestir  ourselves  and  do  something,  even 
though  we  blunder  and  get  bruised,  and  seem  to 
spend  our  strength  in  vain.  To  be  doing  something, 
that  is  the  great  thing.  Maybe  God  may  use  these 
Lenten  sermons  to  show  us  what  that  "  something  " 
should  be. 

In  the  distribution  of  the  topics  of  this  course,  the 
subject  which  has  been  assigned  to  me  may  seem  at 
first  somewhat  beside  the  mark,  for  these  are  to  be 
u  Sermons  on  Social  Subjects."  As  a  matter  of  fact, 
character  is  a  social  force  of  a  very  high  order,  and 
amongst  the  most  effective  of  all  the  contributions 
that  a  man  can  bring  in  support  of  the  great  cause  of 
social  progress.  It  is  not  enough  that  the  cause  be 
good,  and  founded  on  reason  and  love ;  it  has  to  gain 
an  open-hearted,  weli-disposed  hearing  for  its  argu- 
ment amidst  a  host  of  claimants  who  contend  for 
men's  attention,  and  not  all  of  whom  deserve  their 
trust.  Vigorous  logic,  the  swing  of  eloquence,  skill 
in  the  clear  and  lucid  presentation  of  ideas, — these 
may  do  much  ;  but  in  the  long  run  it  is  character 
which  more  than  anything  wins  patient  hearing  for 
new  and  unwelcome  truths.  Men  lower  their  swords 
before  it,  and  yield  to  it  the  trust  which  is  never 

1 82  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

refused  to  the  disinterested.  And  then  in  associated 
action  it  disposes  men  to  unity,  and  does  untold  good 
as  an  antiseptic  to  those  dangerous  germs  of  evil 
which  float  inevitably  in  the  air  of  all  assemblies  of 

All  this  is  obvious  enough  ;  there  is,  however,  one 
fact  concerning  character  which  may  more  easily 
escape  notice — I  mean  its  value  as  an  instrument  for 
the  reception  of  truth. 

It  is  sometimes  forgotten  that  the  intellect,  the 
heart,  the  will,  are  never  in  immediate  contact  with 
the  facts,  arguments,  motives,  which  may  present 
themselves.  "Nous  voyons  tout,"  says  Joubert,  "a 
travers  nous  memes.  Nous  sommes  un  milieu  toujours 
interpose  entre  les  choses  et  nous." 

The  naked  human  intellect,  the  naked  human  will, 
are  abstractions  which  exist  nowhere  on  earth  except 
on  paper.  Deep  down  they  lie,  clothed  upon  and 
enfolded  within  an  infinitely  complex  and  elaborate 
living  envelope,  the  product  and  resultant  of  a  thou- 
sand blending  and  contending  forces,  some  of  which 
have  their  beginning  in  the  remote  past,  and  some 
are  acting  now,  a  spiritual  house  which  we  have  built, 
are  always  building,  always  secreting,  as  a  mollusk 
secretes  its  shell,  out  of  the  materials  supplied  by  our 
nature  and  our  environment.  This  spiritual  house 
which  -we  inhabit  is  our  character,  and  through  its 
windows  all  the  light  from  the  external  world  must 
pass  to  reach  the  "  hermit-spirit,"  which  lives  retired 
and  alone  within  ;  as  pure  light  if  possible,  but  in 
most  cases  to  be  more  or  less  sifted  of  some  rays,  or 
refracted,  distorted,  coloured,  modified,  if  it  be  not 
flung  back  by  an  absolute  opacity. 

Ideal  character  will  supply  a  medium  of  pure 
transparency  to  all  the  elements  of  truth,  transmitting 
its  light  and  heat  and  force  unalloyed  and  unabated 
to  the  soul, 


How  far  ideal  character  is  attainable  by  us  is  a 
question  which  will  be  answered  differently  according 
as  we  put  our  question  to  natural  ethics  or  to  Chris- 
tian ethics.  In  the  outlines  of  the  ideal  character 
there  will  not  be  much  difference.  Why  should  there 
be,  since  both  have  one  origin  in  the  eternal  law 
which  is  the  will  of  God  ?  There  will  be  some  differ- 
ence, perhaps,  in  the  order  of  the  virtues  ;  and  to 
Christianity  must  be  granted  the  incalculable  advan- 
tage of  having,  in  the  place  of  the  "cold  moral 
imperative,"  its  ideal  embodied  in  a  living  Person — in 
Jesus,  the  Incarnate  Word. 

One  marked  distinction,  however,  lies  in  the  degree 
of  hope  with  which  each  system  is  able  to  inspire 
mankind.  It  is  scarcely  just  to  generalize  upon  a 
very  insufficient  acquaintance  with  the  writers  upon 
natural  ethics,  but  to  me  it  seems  as  if  the  drift  of  their 
teaching  was  tending  more  and  more  to  the  lower 
levels  of  helplessness  and  fate,  as  if  they  held  the 
man  doomed  to  become  what  heredity  and  environ- 
ment may  make  him.  He  is  in  the  piteous  plight  of 
the  condor  in  Kielland's  little  story,  "  At  the  Fair." 
"  In  the  hotel  garden,  beside  the  little  fountain  in  the 
middle  of  the  lawn,  sat  a  ragged  condor  attached  to  its 
perch  by  a  good  strong  rope.  But  when  the  sun  shone 
upon  it  with  real  warmth,  it  fell  a-thinking  of  the  snow- 
peaks  of  Peru,  of  mighty  wing-strokes  over  the  deep 
valleys,  and  then  it  forgot  the  rope.  Two  vigorous 
strokes  with  its  pinions  would  bring  the  rope  up  taut, 
and  it  would  fall  back  upon  the  sward.  There  it 
would  lie  by  the  hour,  then  shake  itself,  and  clamber 
up  to  its  little  perch  again." 

In  the  face  of  the  doctrine  of  original  sin,  no  one 
can  accuse  Christianity  of  ignoring  heredity ;  but  its 
protest  against  an  inevitable  and  irresistible  transmis- 
sion of  evil  stands  recorded  on  the  first  page  of  the 
Gospel  in  the  genealogy  of  the  Lord,  where,  in  3 

1 84  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

selection  out  of  His  human  ancestry,  the  writers  are 
careful  to  inscribe  the  names  of  Thamar  and  Rahab 
and  Bathsheba. 

Further,  with  His  own  hand,  the  Lord  throws  open 
the  highest  places  in  His  kingdom,  not  to  the  select 
few,  the  exceptional  natures  well  endowed  and  well 
placed,  but  to  the  mixed  multitude  of  men  which  was 
wont  to  follow  Him  as  He  moved  from  place  to  place 
— the  Pharisee  and  Sadducee,  rich  and  poor,  scribes 
and  unlearned,  publicans  and  sinners.  "And  seeing 
the  multitude,  He  said,  Be  ye  perfect,  even  as  your 
Father  in  heaven  is  perfect."  St.  Paul  hands  on  the 
Master's  lesson,  where  in  one  and  the  same  Epistle  he 
exhorts  men,  whom  he  has  had  to  reprimand  for 
flagrant  vice,  to  break  with  it  all,  and  walk  worthy  of 
their  vocation  to  be  saints. 

Upon  what  does  the  Christian  ethic  count  to  make 
good  this  splendid  confidence  in  the  possible  ultimate 
success  of  all  men  ?  Simply  upon  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ,  His  Word,  His  communicated  Life,  His  Spirit. 
The  one  preoccupation  of  apostolic  men  is  to  lead 
men  to  Christ ;  not  to  His  memory,  but  to  Himself,  as 
a  living,  personal  Presence,  to  find  in  Him  the  grace 
and  truth  by  which  all  victories  are  possible.  They 
bid  us  come  to  Him,  and  take  His  yoke  upon  us,  and 
follow  Him,  assuming,  as  a  matter  of  course,  that  we 
can  do  so ;  and  they  promise  to  all,  without  excep- 
tion, who  will  draw  nigh  to  Him,  that  He  will  draw 
nigh  to  them,  and  will  be  with  them  and  in  them,  and 
they  shall  become  like  Him. 

It  is  open  to  us  to  submit  this  method  of  the  edu- 
cation of  character  to  the  test  of  experiment,  and 
Lent  invites  us  to  do  so.  Why  should  we  not  do  it, 
and  take  some  pains  to  learn  of  the  gentlest,  wisest, 
kindliest  Master  how  to  become  worthier  workmen  in 
the  worthiest  cause  ? 

Early  in  His  ministry  He  taught  men  that  to  see 


God  we  must  be  pure  in  heart.  Short  of  this  beatific 
vision  there  is  much  else  which  is  visible  only  to  the 
pure.  The  pure  in  heart  see  man  also ;  and  he  who 
sees  man  as  in  his  inmost  self  he  is,  loves  him  per- 
force ;  and  he  who  loves  him  will  count  it  a  joy  to 
serve  him,  and  is  bound  to  do  him  good. 



REV.  W.  C.    GORDON   LANG,  M.A. 
"  For  their  sakes  I  consecrate  Myself."— JOHN  xvii.  19. 

IF  we  look  with  any  sort  of  candid  self-examination 
into  ourselves,  and  follow  the  path  of  our  past  life, 
we  see  at  once  that  it  is  strewn  with  wreckage.  Ail 
around  it,  as  it  spreads  out  before  the  mind's  eye, 
are  the  memories  of  wrongs  to  self  and  others,  of 
meannesses  untold,  of  base  and  unworthy  surrenders, 
the  more  ignoble  often  because  so  petty.  It  seems 
clear  that  along  with  us  on  the  journey  of  life  has 
travelled  some  malignant  power,  some  force  of  habi- 
tual perversion,  which  has  turned  effort  to  failure, 
hope  to  disappointment,  love  to  selfishness,  good  to 
bad.  We  have  struggled  with  it,  sometimes  over- 
come it ;  but  there,  in  that  long  line  of  wreckage,  is 
the  evidence  that  we  have  oftentimes  been  worsted. 
Now,  what  is  the  feeling  which  this  review  of  the 
road  of  life  arouses  within  us  ?  It  is  one  of  bitter- 
ness, of  self-contempt,  of  shame,  of  remorse.  And 
yet,  why  should  it  be  so  ?  If  this  malignant  power 
which  has  accompanied  us  be  some  unthinking 
mechanical  force,  affecting  us  as  the  force  of  gravity, 
for  example,  affects  our  bodies,  then  the  thought  of 
its  past  victories  may  justify  indifference  or  stimulate 
to  defiance  ;  it  will  not  fill  us  with  remorse.  If  we 
have  suffered  merely  from  some  unfortunate  physical 


tendencies,  which  we  did  not  create,  for  which  we  are 
not  responsible,  then  I  can  imagine  the  feelings  of 
resignation,  or  resentment,  or  despair,  but  not  of  re- 
morse. Has  it  been  merely  my  natural  imperfection, 
the  immaturity  of  my  self-development,  then  I  might 
be  conscious  of  regret,  of  disappointment,  of  im- 
patience ;  but,  again,  not  of  remorse.  Once  again, 
am  I  to  think  of  this  remorse  itself  as  only  one  more 
strange  excitement  of  nervous  tissues,  gendered  by 
an  impassive  physical  evolution  of  which  I  myself  am 
but  a  phase  ?  It  cannot  be ;  it  is  impossible  to  con- 
ceive that  such  a  blind  force  can  produce  a  conviction 
which  criticizes,  accuses,  despises  itself. 

No ;  the  experience  of  remorse  is  a  witness  to  the 
truth  that  for  this  companion-power  of  perversion  I 
am  myself  responsible ;  that  it  is  part  of  me ;  it  is 
myself  whom  I  accuse.  Let  me  rail  as  I  please  with 
indignation  at  the  iniquity  of  Fate,  or  physical  con- 
struction, the  prophetic  voice  of  conscience  impera- 
tively rejoins,  "  Thou  art  the  man."  I  know  that 
there  was  that  in  me  which  was  all  along  capable  of 
goodness,  equal  to  the  combat.  It  was  I  who  resisted, 
when  I  might  have  wholly  been,  this  better  self;  and 
it  is  this  knowledge  which  begets  remorse. 

Let  us  look  out  of  self  to  society.  There,  again, 
the  path  of  social  history  is  strewn  with  a  like 
wreckage.  The  human  race  itself — and  not  least 
that  part  of  it  which  we  call  civilized — has  been 
plainly  "  implicated  in  some  great  disaster."  And 
there,  again,  if  we  think  it  out,  we  know  that  the  dis- 
aster has  been  wrought,  not  by  the  inevitable  pressure 
of  blind  force,  not  by  the  mere  weakness  of  imperfec- 
tion, but  by  the  action  and  reaction  upon  themselves, 
and  upon  the  conditions  of  nature  in  which  they 
have  been  placed,  of  perverse  individual  wills. 

We  know — it  is  a  knowledge  which  every  develop- 
ment of  thought  and  discovery  of  science  makes 

1 88  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

clearer — that  as  no  man  liveth,  so  no  man  sinncth, 
to  himself.  I  do  not  speak  only  of  those  gross 
offences  which  plainly  violate  social  order  and 
security,  and  which  society  punishes  in  its  own  way, 
but  also  of  the  sins  of  the  secret  inner  life.  There 
also  sin  is  social.  It  is  so,  first,  positively.  We 
see  this  most  clearly  in  the  fact  of  the  influence  of 
heredity.  The  evil  tendency  which  has  not  been 
resisted  and  checked  in  the  individual  life  becomes 
the  strong  bias  in  its  progeny.  Or,  again,  who  can 
estimate  the  subtle  effects  in  others  of  the  mere 
intercourse  of  character?  The  germ  of  a  look,  a 
tone,  a  casual  word,  may  fall  into  the  congenial  soil 
of  some  other  person,  and  there  fructify  in  fully 
developed  sin.  And  secondly,  negatively,  the  truth 
is  not  less  certain.  All  power  for  good  works  through 
individual  men ;  and  where  their  inner  life  is  weak 
and  effortless,  without  dynamic  convictions,  this 
power  is  checked,  hindered,  thwarted.  So  many  of 
the  possible  channels  through  which  goodness  can 
prevail  over  the  world  are  closed.  These  indifferent, 
fruitless,  thin,  dissipated  characters  are,  indeed,  col- 
lectively a  great  force  of  negation — a  dead  weight 
keeping  down  the  rise  of  a  common  good.  They 
maintain  and  spread  that  denseness  to  heroic  stan- 
dards of  life  and  duty,  that  dreadful  callousness 
which  stifles  moral  effort.  The  greatest  "  anti-social " 
force  is  thus  the  sinfulness  or  the  stagnation  of 
individual  wills. 

Now,  in  our  day  we  are  becoming  intensely  con- 
cerned about  "social  evils."  This  very  series  of 
sermons  is  a  witness  to  the  fact,  and  it  is  well.  But 
we  must  remember  that  these  "  social  evils  "  are  not 
causes,  but  results — results  of  the  perverseness  or 
poverty  of  individual  wills.  A  commonplace,  doubt- 
less, but  yet  one  of  those  commonplaces  which  we 
have  especial  need  to  reassert.  It  is  precisely  the 


neglect  of  this  truism  which  accounts  for  the  depress- 
ing contrast  between  the  apparatus  of  social  reform 
and  the  real  advance  of  social  goodness.  It  is  con- 
stantly forgotten  that  a  change  in  social  conditions, 
however  desirable  in  itself,  may  be  only  a  change  in 
the  sphere  of  activity  of  still  perverse  individual  wills. 
Thus,  e.g.,  suppose  the  most  complete  public  control 
of  all  traffic  in  drink,  the  most  effective  public  sup- 
pression of  all  trade  in  vice.  Yet,  in  spite  of  this,  the 
evil  will,  the  real  root  of  the  disease,  may  be  left 
untouched.  It  may  only  force  its  operations  inward, 
and  reassert  itself  in  domestic  drinking  or  secret 
vice,  and  thus  work  greater  havoc,  just  because  it  is 
hidden  and  insidious.  Again,  let  us  remember  that 
a  community  may  hold  itself  up  as  an  example  of 
"  municipal  morality "  and  yet  be  a  community  of 
Pharisees.  The  sinful  will  may  leave  the  sins  of  the 
flesh,  and  feed  on  the  sins  of  the  soul.  Let  us  con- 
stantly remember  that  it  was  not  the  publican  and 
the  harlot,  but  the  self-righteous  Pharisees,  who  cruci- 
fied the  Son  of  man.  Or,  again,  socialistic  legislation 
may  erect  an  admirable  fabric  of  institutions,  political 
and  industrial,  on  the  basis  of  an  assumed  "social 
sentiment,"  and  yet  ere  long  the  unreformed  indi- 
vidual will  may  prove  the  hollowness  of  that  founda- 
tion. It  may  intrigue  for  its  own  selfish  ends  through 
all  this  network  of  social  machinery.  There  could 
be  few  spectacles  more  hideous  than  that  of  a 
socialistic  state  organized  in  the  name  of  common 
humanity,  and  worked  in  the  interests  of  self-seeking 
individuals  or  groups.  It  would  be  the  perfect  type 
of  an  "  organized  hypocrisy."  And  thus  no  amount 
of  eager  energy  in  the  promotion  of  social  reform 
must  be  allowed  to  drive  out  of  sight  that  simplest, 
yet  deepest  and  most  imperative  problem, — how  is 
the  individual  will  to  be  touched,  inspired,  sustained  ? 
Let  us  personalize  the  problem.  We  here,  I  will 


assume,  are  in  our  way,  and  rightly,  social  reformers. 
But  place  a  perverse  individual  will  before  ourselves, 
what  force  have  we  to  change  it  ?  The  process  of 
contenting  ourselves  with  public  movements,  with 
the  efforts  of  municipalities  and  committees,  and  of 
leaving  this  individual  work  to  others,  cannot  go  on 
indefinitely.  The  laity  throw  the  burden  on  the 
clergy,  and  the  clergy  are  only  too  often  tempted  to 
decline  it  for  the  more  exciting  and  encouraging 
work  of  creating  and  managing  social  schemes  and 
institutions.  And  yet  that  perverse  will  must  be 
dealt  with,  else  the  root  of  the  tree  remains. 

Look  at  the  truth  from  another  aspect.  Society- 
it  is  another  of  those  commonplaces  which  the  cen- 
tury neglects — is,  after  all,  only  the  men  and  women 
who  compose  it.  The  "  public  conscience,"  of  which  we 
hear  so  much,  is,  after  all,  only  the  conscience  of  men 
and  women  like  you  and  me.  The  neglect  of  this 
truism  is  responsible  for  that  cloud  of  vague  rhetoric 
into  which  much  current  social  enthusiasm  dissolves. 
It  is  sternly  true  that  the  only  prevailing  social  force 
is  the  power  of  single  righteous  wills,  of  individual 
men  who  realize  in  themselves  what  they  hope  for 
others.  If  Christ  is,  as  we  claim  Him  to  be,  the  Ruler 
of  society,  He  can  rule  only  through  individual  men, 
who  know  Him  and  yield  obedience  to  His  will,  and 
are  trained  by  His  love. 

There  is,  then,  a  real  danger  lest,  in  our  eagerness 
to  remove  social  evils,  their  real  root,  and  the  only 
power  which  can  uproot  them,  should  be  forgotten. 
It  is  a  danger  that  specially  concerns  the  Church. 
She  is,  thank  God,  awaking  to  a  sense  of  her  mission 
to  man  as  a  social  as  well  as  an  individual  being. 
But,  in  the  very  eagerness  of  this  awakening,  there 
are  signs  that  she  may  easily  forget  that  her  power 
in  society  depends  upon  the  personal  consecration 
of  her  members.  She  can  be  effective  as  a  public 


institution  only  when  she  is  primarily  a  company  of 
personally  consecrated  men  and  women — "  members 
of  Christ,"  in  whom  He  dwells,  through  whom  He 
works  upon  the  world  as  its  Redeemer.  The  danger 
also  affects  individuals  whose  conscience  urges  them 
to  take  some  part  in  the  warfare  against  social  evil. 
In  St.  Paul's  description  of  the  panoply  of  the 
Christian  knight,  the  sword,  with  which  the  attack 
against  the  evil  is  to  be  made,  is  named  profoundly 
a  "word"  or  "spoken  thing  of  God"  (prjfjia  Gcov). 
The  power  of  attack  depends  upon  hearing  the  sum- 
moning voice  of  God  in  the  solitary  depths  of  a  man's 
own  soul.  The  true  reformer  must  first  of  all  be 
himself  a  prophet ;  his  motto,  "  Thus  saith  the  Lord;" 
a  man  "  in  whom  high  God  has  breathed  a  secret 

Let  me  quote  the  words  of  Dean  Church  :  "  The 
soul  has,  indeed,  to  think  and  to  work  with  others, 
and  for  great  aims  and  purposes  out  of  and  beyond 
itself.  For  others  and  with  others,  the  first  part  of 
its  earthly  work  is  done.  But  first  the  soul  has  to 
know  this  sublime  truth  about  itself,  that  it  stands 
before  the  Everlasting  by  itself,  and  for  what  it  is." 
For  the  sake  of  the  unfairly  hindered  or  the  op- 
pressed, we  need  social  reforms  ;  but  for  the  sake  of 
these  reforms,  we  need  most  of  all  great  characters. 
It  is  they,  and  they  alone,  who  can  influence  the  will 
of  others,  and  make  reform  a  reality.  And  strength 
of  personal  character  is  wrought,  not  always  or  even 
best  in  the  stress  of  social  activity,  but  chiefly  in  the 
wrestling  of  a  man's  own  soul  with  the  unseen  God. 
We  look  out  with  ardour  on  the  great  social  war 
between  justice  and  injustice,  good  and  evil,  and  we 
are  eager  to  take  our  place  within  it ;  but  let  us 
remember  that  our  power  to  prevail  depends  upon 
the  issue  of  that  same  combat  in  the  arena  of  our 
inner  self.  We  can  only  conquer  the  sins  of  others 


by  the  weapons  with  which  God  has  conquered  ours. 
There  is  no  one  to  whom  the  question  comes  more 
pertinently  than  to  the  social  reformer,  "What 
shall  it  profit  a  man,  if  he  gain  the  whole  world  " — 
convince  overwhelming  majorities  of  the  utility  of  his 
schemes,  and  see  them  everywhere  adopted — "  and 
lose  his  own  soul  ?  "  The  greatest  social  truth  ever 
uttered  was  that  spoken  by  the  Son  of  man,  as  He 
passed  into  the  great  struggle  by  which  He  overcame 
the  evil  of  the  world,  "For  their  sakes  I  consecrate 
Myself"  It  was  this  power  of  perfect  personal  con- 
secration in  one  single  human  will  which  gave  the 
world  the  gift  of  redeeming  life.  And  still,  the  only 
abiding  force  of  social  redemption  is  the  force  of 
single  wills  surrendered  to  the  will  of  God. 




Rector  of  Poplar,  E.,  late  Fellow  and  Tutor  of  Brasenose  College, 


' '  What  is  man  ?  "— Ps.  viii.  4. 

WE  know  the  answer  given  in  the  logic  books,  "  Man 
is  a  rational  animal,"  an  animal  amongst  animals,  and 
yet  marked  off  from  his  fellow-beasts  by  a  rational 
endowment  This  answer  may  not  be  very  satisfac- 
tory, and  doesn't  take  us  very  far ;  but,  at  any  rate, 
it  touches  upon  that  which  is  the  central  mystery,  the 
crucial  problem,  the  eternal  perplexity  of  man — 
namely,  his  twofold  nature.  Body  and  soul, — man 
is  in  some  way  or  other  a  compound  of  the  two. 
We  may  give  prominence  to  whichever  element  we 
please.  We  may  call  him  either  a  rational  animal  or 
an  incarnate  spirit.  Whichever  way  we  put  it,  the 
fact  remains  the  same,  that  man  consists  of  two 
elements,  utterly  distinct  and  heterogeneous,  and 
yet  inseparably  fused  together  and  interacting  in  a 
way  that  defies  analysis.  Body  and  soul, — most 
philosophers  start  by  recognizing  the  two,  and  yet 
almost  invariably  end  by  snubbing,  ignoring,  or 
denying  the  reality  of  one.  And  so  they  range 
themselves  into  opposite  camps — materialists  and 
idealists,  sensationalists  and  transcendentalists — and 


194  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

stand  out  as  the  champions  respectively  of  the  body 
against  the  soul,  or  the  soul  against  the  body. 

Now,  the  great  characteristic  of  the  Christian  view 
of  man  is,  that  it  is  free  from  this  one-sided,  partisan, 
sectarian  character.  The  Christian  theory  of  man  is 
catholic  and  comprehensive,  true  to  the  facts,  ex- 
pressing all,  garbling  none.  Ideal  and  transcendental? 
Certainly  ;  Christianity  is  that.  Man,  she  declares,  is 
a  spirit,  made  a  little  lower  than  the  angels,  made  in 
the  image  of  God,  endowed  here  and  hereafter  with 
an  eternal  life  which  flesh  and  blood  cannot  inherit. 
But  does  it  follow  that  the  body  is  of  no  account, 
and  worse  than  none ;  that  the  body  is  an  accident 
and  a  nuisance,  irrelevant  and  deplorable  ;  that  whilst 
living  in  the  flesh  the  soul  is  chained  to  a  corpse, 
from  which  death  is  a  welcome  release ;  that  only 
after  death  does  man  gain  his  true  freedom  and 
achieve  his  ideal  nature  as  a  disembodied  spirit? 
"  No,"  said  the  Christian  Church,  in  a  strain  of 
thorough-going  materialism  —  "no;  I  believe  the 
body  is  not  bad,  but  good ;  the  body  was  meant  to 
help  the  soul,  and  not  impede  it ;  it  is  the  adoption 
or  redemption  of  the  body,  not  its  destruction,  that 
is  wanted  ;  we  don't  want  to  be  disembodied  spirits, 
and  don't  believe  we  shall  be,  for  we  believe  in  the 
resurrection  of  the  body." 

Body  and  soul  are  united  in  a  close  sacramental 
union.  Each  element  has  its  own  reality,  its  own 
function,  its  own  value ;  the  outward  and  visible 
body  moving  and  working  as  the  delicate  instrument, 
the  sensitive  medium,  for  an  inward  and  spiritual  life 
breathed  into  it  by  God  Himself. 

This  Christian  doctrine  of  the  equal  partnership 
of  body  and  soul  in  the  same  person  has  important 
applications,  i.  The  sacredness  of  the  body  itself.  As 
long  as  the  body  was  regarded  as  something  separate 
and  disconnected  from  the  soul,  the  neglect  and 


misuse  of  the  bodily  life  was  very  natural.  People 
around  might  starve  and  freeze  and  agonize,  but 
these  things  touched  the  body  only  ;  they  might  and 
did  issue  in  death,  but  then  death  was  only  the 
deliverance  of  the  soul  from  its  prison-house.  Why 
interfere  with  such  a  blessed  consummation  ?  Why 
not  rather  see  in  it  a  sign  of  Divine  providence  and 
mercy  ?  And  so  philosophy  turned  "  procuress  to  the 
lords  of  hell,"  and  supplied  the  well-to-do  with  a  good 
excuse  for  doing  nothing  for  the  misery  about  them. 
And,  again,  what  could  it  matter  what  use  they  them- 
selves put  their  bodies  to  ?  The  body  was  only  a 
brute  beast,  without  any  share  in  the  splendour  of 
human  personality.  A  brute  beast  which  might  be 
treated  in  different  ways  according  to  the  tempera- 
ment of  its  owner ;  it  might  be  indulged  and 
humoured  by  the  Cyrenaics,  or  it  might  be  scorned 
and  neglected  by  the  Stoics.  But  in  either  case 
philosophy  condemned  it  as  an  outcast,  degraded 
and  disinherited.  The  body  was  a  beast ;  drunken- 
ness and  lust  were  only  natural  to  it.  Let  the  body, 
then,  wallow  in  these,  whilst  the  soul  pursued  the 
even  tenor  of  her  way,  and,  undisturbed  by  the 
brutalism  of  the  body,  lived  her  own  rational  and 
spiritual  life. 

But  to  the  Christian,  who  understands  the  elements 
of  his  faith,  this  treatment  of  the  body  in  himself  or 
others  is  for  ever  impossible.  The  creation  of  man 
was  a  sacrament  celebrated  by  God  Almighty — a 
sacrament  in  which  the  material  was  taken  up  into 
the  spiritual,  in  which  body  and  soul  were  knit 
together  in  a  union  which  it  is  sacrilege  to  put 
asunder.  That  sacrament  was  repeated  when  the 
Word  was  made  flesh  in  the  womb  of  the  Blessed 
Virgin,  and  is  continued  by  the  indwelling  of  the 
Holy  Ghost  in  His  temple  of  man's  body.  Any 
injury,  therefore,  which  stunts,  or  starves,  or  maims 

196  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

man's  body  is  an  injury  to  man  himself,  and  is  an 
injury  for  which,  in  the  solidarity  of  the  human  race, 
our  manhood  is  responsible.  Christ,  the  universal 
Man  with  human  body,  is  fasting  over  again  in  the 
wilderness,  and  thirsting  over  again  on  the  cross  in  the 
bodily  hunger  and  thirst  which  we  allow  our  brothers 
and  sisters  to  suffer  from ;  hunger  and  thirst  which 
are  bodily  indeed,  but  which  also  assault  and  hurt 
the  soul  by  robbing  it  of  faith  in  goodness,  human 
or  Divine.  We  Christians  dare  not,  then,  be  indifferent 
to  the  bodily  suffering  of  others.  Such  indifference 
would  be  sheer  blasphemy  against  all  the  Persons  of 
the  Blessed  Trinity,  each  one  of  Whom  has  taught 
us,  by  creation,  incarnation,  and  indwelling,  the 
sacredness  of  human  flesh  and  blood. 

And  so  with  the  misuse  of  our  own  bodies.  The 
degradation  of  man's  body  is  the  degradation  of  his 
manhood.  To  treat  our  body  as  a  brute  is  to 
brutalize  ourselves.  The  body  has  no  animal  in- 
dependence of  its  own  ;  it  is  saturated  with  the  soul ; 
it  is  interpenetrated  with  the  life  and  impulses  and 
aspirations  of  the  soul.  To  think  that  the  body  can 
be  brutalized  by  self-indulgence  or  impurity,  and 
yet  that  the  soul  can  remain  in  communion  with 
God,  is  an  absurdity,  a  lie.  Man  is  one ;  his  whole 
nature  must  rise  or  fall  together.  With  the  bru- 
talizing of  the  body  there  goes  also  the  blinding  of 
the  soul.  The  "carnal"  man  becomes  also  the 
"  natural "  man,  who  has  lost  his  higher  perceptions, 
who  jests  at  religious  enthusiasm,  to  whom  spiritual 
things  are  foolishness.  Here  we  see  the  meaning  of 
the  fasting,  the  discipline,  and  the  asceticism  to 
which  Lent  calls  us.  The  object  of  these  things  is, 
not  to  pour  contempt  upon  the  body  by  unmeaning 
self-denial,  but  just  the  opposite — to  make  it  worthy 
of  its  high  position  ;  to  keep  it  in  tune  with  the 
spirit ;  to  remind  it  that  even  in  this  life  it  is  a 


"spiritual  body,"  and  that,  therefore,  the  spiritual 
life  is  natural,  and  sensuality  is  unnatural ;  to  save  it 
from  becoming  merely  an  "  animal "  body  ;  to  prevent 
it  from  asserting  a  spurious  independence  of  its  own, 
which  is  really  its  own  degradation,  and  at  the  same 
time  the  corruption  of  the  spirit.  The  natural  soul 
and  flesh  are  one  man,  and  that  one  man  cannot 
and  must  not  be  rent  asunder. 

2.  And  the  other  point  I  wanted  to  suggest  to  you 
is,  that  the  Christian  doctrine  of  human  personality 
(that  the  rational  soul  and  flesh  are  one  man)  enables 
us  to  form  a  definite  idea  of  a  futztre  life.  Nearly 
every  philosophy  and  religion  has  taught  that  a  part 
of  us  is  immortal,  that  the  soul  in  some  form  or 
other  survives  the  death  of  the  body.  But  as  we 
question  them  about  the  nature  of  this  life  beyond 
the  grave,  it  seems  to  dwindle  away  to  nothing.  Is 
it  a  life,  we  ask,  in  which  we  shall  remember  the 
existence  which  went  before?  Shall  we  recognize 
there  those  whom  we  knew  and  loved  here?  Will 
the  human  affections  survive  and  be  continued  ?  No, 
say  the  philosophers,  there  will  be  no  memory,  no 
recognition,  no  affection  ;  for  in  all  of  these  the  bodily 
senses  have  their  part,  and  there  is  no  body  in  the 
future  life.  Any  message,  says  Aristotle,  which 
reaches  the  dead  from  this  world,  reaches  them  as 
a  faint  confused  murmur,  a  tale  of  little  meaning, 
though  it  may  be  a  tale  which  treats  of  the  fortune 
of  their  nearest  and  dearest  friends.  What  does 
survive,  then  ?  Something  very  vague  and  shadowy ; 
a  mere  form  of  personal  identity  without  any  sub- 
stance or  reality.  Thus,  according  to  these  thinkers, 
there  is  no  real  personal  life  continued  beyond  the 
grave ;  and  the  reason  is,  that  in  this  real  personal 
life  as  we  know  it,  the  body  is  an  integral  element ; 
and  that,  therefore,  if  the  body  does  not  rise  again, 
we  shall  not  be  the  same  persons  in  the  future  life 

198  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

that  we  are  in  this.  Without  the  resurrection  of  the 
body  there  can  be  no  personal  immortality.  We  see 
a  suggestion  of  this  in  Homer.  When  Ulysses 
descends  to  the  lower  world,  the  ghosts  gather  round 
him  eager  and  curious ;  but  they  are  powerless  to 
recover  their  memory  or  tell  him  their  stories  until 
they  have  drunk  of  the  blood  of  the  sacrifice  which 
he  had  offered.  No ;  unless  the  body  survives,  it 
won't  help  us  to  insist  on  the  immortality  of  the 
soul :  that  may  only  mean  that  the  soul  is  reabsorbed 
into  the  universal  life  of  the  world — an  unconscious 
immortality  which  is  in  no  sense  a  continuation  of 
the  personal  life  which  we  know.  But  the  Church  of 
Christ  is  in  earnest  about  this  personal  future  life, 
and  with  a  true  instinct  insists  ton  the  necessary  con- 
dition of  its  reality.  Assuming  the  soul's  immortality 
as  a  truism  too  familiar  to  need  asserting,  she  boldly 
and  calmly  declares  her  belief  in  the  resurrection  of 
man's  body.  In  this  way  alone,  when  the  soul  is  re- 
united to  a  body,  can  there  be  a  real  continuance 
of  personal  life.  Then,  and  then  only,  shall  we  be 
the  same  people,  with  those  human  affections  and 
memories  which  make  up  so  much  of  the  life  of  each 
of  us.  As  to  the  nature  of  that  resurrection-body  we 
can  only  form  vague  conjectures.  St.  Paul  tells  us 
that  it  will  be  related  to  the  body  laid  in  the  grave 
in  the  same  way  as  the  fresh  blade  of  wheat  is  related 
to  the  seed  that  has  been  sown  in  the  ground. 
Different  from  the  old,  yet  organically  connected 
with  it.  There  is  sown  a  natural  body,  there  is 
raised  a  spiritual  body — a  spiritual  body  which  shall 
be  the  appropriate  partner  for  a  cleansed  and  purified 

Such,  then,  is  the  Christian  doctrine  of  personality 
in  this  world  and  the  next ;  a  perfect  union  of  soul 
and  body ;  a  sacramental  union  in  which  the  body  is 
in  this  life  sanctified  and  called  to  a  spiritual  service, 


and  so  prepared  and  made  fit  to  be  raised  again  as 
a  spiritual  body,  a  member  in  a  perfect  personal  life 
in  heaven. 

And  one  word  in  conclusion.  Christ  insists  that 
the  body  shall  be  a  yokefellow  of  the  spirit  in  the 
same  sense  in  which  Christians  are  now  insisting  that 
trade  and  commerce  and  the  other  institutions  of 
society  shall  be  made  amenable  to  the  ordinary 
principles  of  morality.  It  is  sin  which  makes  the 
body  independent  of  the  spirit,  or  business  transac- 
tions independent  of  morality.  Business  has  its 
spiritual  side,  from  which  it  cannot  be  divorced  with- 
out ruin  and  degradation.  The  body — the  busy, 
active,  outward  and  visible  body — must  be  ruled  and 
regulated  by  the  soul.  But  Christians  who  aim  at 
such  a  purification  of  business,  in  points  where 
purification  is  still  required,  may  start  the  work  on  a 
smaller  scale  and  nearer  home.  Let  us  see  to  it  that 
our  own  bodies  are  in  harmony  with  the  promptings 
of  the  soul ;  that  no  sectarian  independence  is  allowed 
to  the  animal  nature,  but  that  the  spiritual  is  supreme 
throughout.  Then  we  can  go  out  with  clean  hands 
and  a  pure  heart  to  take  part  in  the  larger  work 
outside  ;  to  insist  that  social  institutions,  which  are 
"body"  on  a  larger  scale,  shall  likewise  be  regulated 
by  spiritual  and  moral  principles,  and  that  the 
kingdoms  of  this  world  shall  throughout  and  in  every 
department  be  the  kingdoms  of  God  and  of  His 



Rector  of  Holy  Trinity,  Upper  Chelsea. 

"  Whosoever  will  save  his  life  shall  lose  it :  and  whosoever  will  lose 
his  life  for  My  sake  shall  find  it." — MATT.  xvi.  25. 

AGAIN  and  again  in  the  New  Testament  is  this 
paradox  forced  on  our  notice  in  praise  of  unselfish- 
ness. Where  the  life  or  soul  (for  the  word  is  the 
same  in  the  Greek)  of  man  is  concerned,  we  are  told 
that  the  words  losing  and  gaining,  keeping  or  flinging 
away,  saving  or  abandoning,  become  inverted.  There 
is  a  saving  which  is  losing,  and  a  losing  which  is  the 
only  lasting  saving. 

And  this  way  of  speaking  is  not  meant  to  puzzle 
us.  There  is  nothing  in  the  New  Testament  which 
is  merely  intended  to  startle  or  to  be  used  for  sensa- 
tional effect ;  every  surprising  statement  has  an  object 
which  cannot  be  attained  in  any  other  way.  So 
Christ's  words  here  are  not  meant  merely  to  make 
us  experience  an  emotion,  but  to  make  us  think, 
ponder,  and  consider.  What  is  that  losing  which  is 
a  saving  ?  That  is  our  question. 

There  was  a  day  when  the  answer  was  easy ;  cir- 
cumstances made  it  easy  to  the  first  disciples  and 
their  converts ;  there  would  be  no  difficulty  then  in 
understanding  what  kind  of  losing  the  soul  or  life 

LOSING    THE   SOUL    TO    SAVE  IT.  201 

that  was  which  would  save  it.  There  was  a  losing 
which  often  came  very  near  them,  and  their  willing- 
ness to  lose  their  life  or  soul  in  that  fashion,  whenever 
tested,  admitted  of  no  doubt  or  hesitation.  There 
was  suffering  and  shame,  the  stake  and  the  sword,  on 
the  one  hand  ;  and  on  the  other,  immunity  and  com- 
fort. To  them  the  choice  was  simple :  would  they 
choose  death  that  they  might  live  the  only  life  worth 
living — the  life  of  faith  and  of  holiness ;  or  would 
they  choose  life  that  they  might  die  the  worst  of 
deaths — the  inward  death  of  the  apostate  and  the 

Then  the  alternative  was  simple  and  easy  to 
understand  ;  the  paradox  ceased  to  puzzle ;  it  be- 
came full  of  lucidity.  And  so  now  sometimes  there 
is  an  application  of  the  words  which  so  far  corre- 
sponds to  that  one,  that  the  difficulty  is  not  felt,  at 
any  rate,  seriously.  There  is  sometimes  an  apparent 
losing  of  the  life  by  honesty,  or  truth,  or  honour,  by 
preferring  these  to  self-interest,  and  gain,  and  false- 
hood, which  is  felt  to  be  the  only  real  keeping,  just 
as  there  is  a  keeping  of  life  by  dishonesty  or  con- 
cession of  principle,  which  is  felt  to  be,  owned  to  be, 
the  most  absolute  loss. 

The  man  who  buys  ease  with  dishonesty,  or  popu- 
larity by  giving  up  his  principles,  as  certainly  loses 
his  real  life  in  trying  to  save  it,  as  the  man  who  sets 
his  face  like  a  flint,  and  refuses  to  hear  the  voice  of 
the  charmer,  assuredly  keeps  it.  There  is  no  difficulty 
here ;  when  we  take  the  paradox  out  into  actual  life, 
we  see  how  imperative  it  is  that  man  should  often 
seem  to  lose  his  soul  by  self-abandonment  and  by 
self-conquest,  if  he  is  really  to  save  it. 

But  go  a  little  further,  and  the  difficulty  recurs, 
the  paradox  begins  to  baffle  again.  Here  is  the 
religious  man  of  a  certain  type  ;  he  is  nervous  and 
anxious  about  himself;  either  he  has  got  a  taint  of 

202  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

the  dark  side  of  Puritanism  in  his  blood,  or  he  has 
inherited  from  a  succession  of  pious  forefathers  their 
view  of  God,  that  He  is  a  hard  master,  only  to  be 
propitiated  by  a  rigorous  round  of  prayers,  and 
penances,  and  fastings,  and  religious  exercises ;  he 
thinks  that  if  he  can  persevere  with  these  he  may 
somehow  wriggle  into  heaven.  And  so  he  takes  a 
thoroughly  valetudinarian  view  of  the  whole  matter 
of  soul-saving  ;  he  shuts  his  soul  up  in  a  sick  chamber, 
and  he  doses  it  with  spiritual  exercises ;  perhaps  he 
hates  fasting,  but  he  dreads  the  future  too  much  to 
refrain  from  it ;  perhaps  prayers  are  a  weariness  to 
him,  but  his  nervous  terrors  force  him  to  pray,  be- 
cause by  it  he  will  "  save  his  soul ; "  and  all  the  while 
in  spiritual  vitality  his  soul  pines  and  sickens.  Should 
any  one  make  a  claim  on  him  for  service,  his  instinct 
is  to  refuse ;  he  tells  himself  that  he  is  very  sorry 
he  cannot  help,  but  he  is  afraid  of  risking  his  own 
salvation  ;  he  must  watch  himself,  and  if  he  goes  into 
the  thick  of  common,  human,  irreligious  life,  if  he 
goes  among  the  publicans  and  sinners,  he  might  be 
infected  by  their  bad  example,  he  might  become  one 
of  them.  So  he  shuts  his  soul  up  in  a  warm,  close, 
devotional  atmosphere,  and  lives,  as  he  thinks,  to 
the  glory  of  God,  where  there  are  no  chill  blasts  of 
worldliness  or  of  common  interests  blowing  upon 
him — he  will  save  his  soul.  And  yet  do  we  not 
feel,  with  his  poor,  thin,  deteriorating  character,  that 
every  day  he  is  losing  it  ? 

Or,  again,  there  is  the  mechanical  religionist,  the 
man  who  is  not  merely  frightened  by  nervous  emo- 
tion, who  does  not  think  of  God  as  being  so  much 
a  hard  master,  as  a  merely  mechanical  being.  He 
has  a  quantitative  theory  of  devotion,  and  a  mecha- 
nical theory  of  life ;  he  will  do  so  much  church,  so 
much  prayers,  so  much  self-denial,  so  much  alms- 
giving, all  as  a  matter  of  hard  duty.  He  will  keep 

LOSING    THE   SOUL    TO  SAVE   IT.  203 

a  bit  of  his  soul  curtained  off  as  a  kind  of  sanctuary 
— there  is  his  religion — and  with  that  and  its  obser- 
vances nothing  shall  interfere,  but  the  rest  of  his  life 
is  his  own  ;  he  may  be  a  harsh  father,  a  bullying 
advocate,  a  bitter  enemy,  a  swindling  director,  a 
taker  of  fees  for  which  he  does  no  work — he  may 
be  all  this,  he  may  be  losing  day  by  day  every 
vestige  of  honour  and  generosity,  and  yet  he  may 
all  the  time  be  believing,  and  even  be  firmly  con- 
vinced that,  because  of  the  religion  which  he  keeps 
so  carefully  shut  off  in  its  water-tight  compartment, 
he  is  saving  his  soul.  We  cannot  have  kept  our  eyes 
open  if  we  have  not  known  such  cases  ;  we  may  even 
be  such  people  ourselves.  The  worst  of  it  is  that, 
if  it  be  so,  we  are  likely  to  become  so  adept  at  self- 
deception.  No  one  seems  so  morally  and  spiritually 
hopeless  as  the  man  who  has  a  little  dried-up  religion 
in  a  bit  of  his  life ;  he  keeps  it  like  a  pea  in  a  box, 
and  if  some  day  some  wandering  evangelist  gives 
him  a  pang  of  discomfort,  he  shakes  his  box,  the 
pea  rattles,  and  he  is  in  a  blaze  of  triumph.  "  Why, 
there  is  my  religion ;  I  fast  twice  in  the  week,  I  go 
to  church,  I  pray  morning  and  evening,  I  keep  from 
bad  company,  I  believe  in  God's  Revelation ;  I  am 
saving  my  soul." 

All  the  while  the  soul,  the  life,  the  character,  the 
self,  sickens  and  pines  and  dies  under  such  treat- 
ment ;  the  religious  element  is  dried  up  by  being 
divorced  from  the  real  interests  of  life,  and  from  the 
love  of  the  great  Father.  The  child-feeling  towards 
God,  by  which  man  grows,  is  deadened  by  nervous 
fears;  the  attitude  becomes,  "I  dare  not  though  I 
would,"  and  at  last  the  soul  is  lost  by  being  saved. 

These  are  the  failures.  How,  then,  are  we  to  grasp 
the  inmost  teaching  of  this  paradox — to  lose  the 
soul  in  order  to  save  it  ? 

The  soul  must  brace  itself  by  vigorous  exercises  ; 

204  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

it  lives  by  free  air  and  sunshine,  as  the  body  does ; 
it  must  commit  itself  to  the  vicissitudes  of  life,  to  the 
toss  and  tumble  of  this  common  life ;  it  must  be 
jostled  and  bothered  by  human  unreasonableness, 
and  saddened  by  human  distress  ;  it  must  learn  to 
bear  roughness  and  uncultivated  ways  ;  it  must  spend 
and  be  spent ;  it  must  lose  itself  that  it  may  be  saved. 
It  must  do  something  for  others,  and  for  those  others 
who  need  it  most.  It  must  not  say,  "  I  live  for  the  glory 
of  God,"  unless  it  can  say  also,  "  I  live  for  the  service 
of  man  ; "  and  to  serve  man  brings  one  into  difficulty, 
for  man  is  often  hard  to  serve.  He  is  not  always 
lying  in  bed  anxious  for  your  visit,  willing  to  let  you 
talk  and  give  him  your  blessing  and  your  shilling 
and  let  you  go.  He  is  in  trouble.  He  is  bothered 
about  how  he  is  to  live  physically,  or  he  has  got 
into  trouble  by  his  own  fault,  or  he  is  such  a  weak 
molluscous  creature  that  you  cannot  find  a  firm  bit 
to  grasp  him  by.  You  don't  know  what  to  be  at 
with  him.  The  only  thing  he  does  not  seem  to  want 
is  to  give  you  a  chance  of  really  helping  him.  If 
you  might  give  him  a  shilling  to  get  rid  of  him,  and 
let  him  get  drunk  in  your  honour,  it  would  be  easy ; 
but  then  you  would  be  saving  yourself,  and  pushing 
him  into  deeper  damnation.  Or  he  comes  to  you 
with  his  sad  story  of  low  wages  and  long  hours,  and 
your  dividends  boil  in  your  pocket ;  you  feel  that 
somehow  you  have  saved  yourself  by  losing  him  ;  but 
how  are  you  to  help  it  ?  You  mutter  some  economic 
principle  about  competition,  or  buying  in  the  cheapest 
market.  You  do  not  see  where  you  individually  are 
to  come  in.  Or  your  better  self  prevails,  and  you 
begin  to  cast  about  for  ways  to  help,  and  you  make 
your  voice  heard  at  company  meetings  in  favour  of 
the  oppressed.  Of  course,  everybody  hates  you,  and 
looks  on  you  as  an  impostor  and  a  sneak,  but  some- 
how there  rises  up  within  you  a  conviction  that  in 

ur  rue 

(  VNlYERSfTY   } 

^^nSVlt  /FORN\^>^^ 
LOSING    THE   SOUL    TO   SA  VE    IT.  205 

flinging  your  soul  into  these  hopeless  enterprises  you 
are  finding  it  more  clearly,  and  building  it  up  more 
securely,  than  you  ever  did  before.  You  find  that 
the  habit  of  taking  trouble  to  understand  others,  and 
discarding  prejudices,  and  looking  facts  in  the  face, 
is  freeing  you,  is  bringing  you  forth  into  a  place  of 
liberty,  and  undoing  the  burden  of  sin  which  has 
pressed  you  down.  For  if  you  want  to  save  your 
soul  by  helping  your  brother-man,  you  must  part 
with  all  your  desire  to  help  him  as  you  think  he 
ought  to  want  to  be  helped,  and  you  must  go  to 
him  where  he  is.  That  is  often  the  only  way  of 
losing  your  soul  so  as  to  save  it  at  this  present 
hour.  You  must  find  out  where  your  brother  is,  and 
sacrifice  yourself  for  him  there.  The  failure  of  so 
much  religious  effort  in  these  days  lies  just  in  this — 
that  it  does  not  try  to  find  people  out  where  they  are. 

Everywhere  the  same  law  haunts  you  :  you  must 
lose  your  soul  to  save  it.  It  may  be  sorrow  has 
come  to  you ;  death  has  darkened  your  home,  or 
undeserved  shame  has  come  to  you ;  your  children 
have  proved  ungrateful,  or  your  friends  fail  you.  You 
would  shut  yourself  up  and  stiffen  into  stone.  You 
say  all  is  vanity — friendship  and  gratitude ;  only  let  us 
keep  our  religion  ;  and  lo  !  you  find  it,  too,  gone — as 
a  source  of  comfort  and  help.  Ah  !  go  forth,  and  try 
to  help  others ;  there  is  no  such  cure  for  sorrow  as 
to  share  the  burden  of  others ;  no  such  salvation  from 
trial  as  to  lose  your  soul  in  deeds  of  mercy.  You 
must  fling  your  soul  into  the  sorrows  of  others  if  you 
are  to  bear  your  own,  as  our  Master  did. 

Or,  you  have  fallen  into  sin.  The  gratification  at 
the  time  was  sweet  and  alluring,  but  the  retrospect  is 
dark,  bitter,  and  loathsome  ;  a  stained  and  spotted 
manhood,  a  lost  self-respect,  a  torturing  remorse — all 
is  bitter.  In  the  darkness  of  despair,  in  the  agony  of 
self-condemnation,  you  drain  the  loathsome  dregs  of 

206  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

that  bitter  cup.  What  must  you  do  ?  Surely  there 
is  no  salvation  for  you,  too,  but  in  losing  your  soul  in 
works  of  love.  Spend  Ash  Wednesday  in  repent- 
ance ;  weep  before  Eternal  Love ;  but  go  to-morrow 
and  lose  your  soul  in  some  energetic  work ;  spend 
yourself  in  alleviating  some  misery,  in  undoing  some 
oppression,  in  reforming  some  vice.  Fling  your  soul 
away  that  you  may  recover  it  after  many  days — 
purified,  strengthened,  renewed. 

"  There  is  no  gain  except  by  loss, 
Nor  glory  but  by  bearing  shame, 
Nor  justice  but  by  taking  blame." 

Only  in  strong,  resolute,  manly  effort  to  help  your 
fellow-men  will  strength  come  back  ;  only  because 
you  love  much,  and  show  your  love  by  sacrifice,  can 
your  many  sins  be  forgiven  ;  only  thus  will  the 
sovereign  power  of  the  Divine  paradox  become  clear 
and  vivid  to  you  :  "  Whosoever  will  lose  his  life  for 
My  sake  shall  find  it." 



REV.  T.  C.  FRY,  D.D., 
Headmaster  of  Berkhamsted  School. 

"  There  can  be  neither  Jew  nor  Greek,  there  can  be  neither  bond 
nor  free,  there  can  be  no  male  and  female  :  for  ye  are  all  one  man  in 
Christ  Jesus."— GAL.  iii.  28. 

OUR  class  division — that  is  just  another  name  for 
the  social  question.  Men  talk  at  times  as  if  even  to 
speak  of  such  a  thing  as  class  division  were  to  create 
it ;  as  if  it  were  to  stir  up  to  strife  the  lion  and  the 
lamb  who  would  otherwise  have  lain  down  together. 
But  it  is  the  social  conditions  themselves,  and  not  the 
references  to  them,  that  create  the  strife.  The  agita- 
tor may  embitter  the  strife,  but  he  does  not  create 
the  strife,  nor  create  the  conditions ;  it  is  the  con- 
ditions that  create  the  agitator.  Nay,  more :  so  long 
as  the  conditions  exist,  is  not  the  Christian  himself 
bound  to  be  in  some  sense  an  agitator,  if  by  that  we 
mean  a  man  who  refuses  to  remain  silent,  because 
silence  is  least  disturbing?  At  all  events,  none  can 
deny  that  wide  divisions  exist :  angry  workmen  over 
against  angry  employers ;  cities  of  the  poor,  grimly 
monotonous,  beside  the  quarters  of  the  rich ;  large 
bodies  of  labour  brought  by  a  sudden  frost  to  famine, 
while  capital  cannot  find  employment ;  whole  tracts 
of  human  beings  of  the  same  blood,  the  same  faith, 
the  same  country,  without  insight  into  each  other's 

208  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

fears  and  hopes  :  here  are  the  divisions,  fruitless  and 
deepening,  created  by  our  civilization,  half  ignored 
by  our  politics,  calling  aloud  to  our  religion. 

The  divisions  exist,  palliate  them  as  we  may.  The 
causes,  no  doubt,  are  manifold.  Some  evils  are  self- 
caused  ;  no  one  class  is  entirely  to  blame.  But,  when 
the  flood  is  on  us,  it  matters  little  who  broke  down 
the  dyke.  The  flood  must  be  stemmed ;  so  the 
divisions  must  be  reconciled.  How  shall  we  do  it  ? 
Some  men  think  to  reconcile  us  to  them  by  optimism 
in  figures :  the  national  wealth  is  growing,  they  say. 
But  that  only  intensifies  the  sense  of  injustice,  if  ours, 
for  all  our  struggle,  lessens.  If  the  national  wealth 
has  grown  faster  than  the  population,  and  yet  this 
abyss  of  poverty  lessens  not,  then  distribution  must 
be  inadequate,  and  organization  deeply  at  fault.  If, 
again,  it  is  an  inexorable  law  beyond  our  ethical 
control  that  the  race  is  to  the  swift  and  the  battle  to 
the  strong,  then  farewell,  once  that  is  fully  realized, 
to  the  well-being  of  a  more  fortunate  but  selfish  few. 
If  the  poor  are  better  off  than  their  grandfathers,  yet, 
we  may  ask,  in  proportion  to  the  wealth  they  have 
helped  to  create,  are  they  as  well  off  as  justice 
demands?  If  it  is  essential  to  point  out  to  the  poor 
how  loss  of  character  creates  loss  of  skill,  is  this  a 
just  utterance,  unless  we  also  tell  the  monopolist,  the 
rackrenter,  the  ground  landlord,  the  licensed  victu- 
aller, that  they  help,  one  or  the  other  of  them,  to 
suffer  or  to  create,  for  their  own  personal  profit,  the 
environment  that  makes  character  decay  ? 

No,  indeed ;  the  logic  of  the  beati  possidentesy  the 
"  inexorable  laws  "  of  older  economists,  the  analogy 
of  lower  nature — red  in  tooth  and  claw, — the  statistics 
of  the  Board  of  Trade,  the  eidola  of  the  legal  mind, 
will  not  reconcile  the  long  estrangement  of  a  human 
family,  of  men  who  should  be  brothers,  of  sons  of  a 
common  Father. 


"Sirs,  ye  are  brethren/'     That  is  the  keynote  of 
restored  harmony.     Brethren  can  only  be  reconciled 
by  the  pressure  and  force  of  love.     All  else  must  fail, 
is  failing ;  this  alone,  where  success  is,  is  the  cause 
of  it :    "  Sirs,   ye  are   brethren/'     Because   you   are 
brethren,  you  must  meet,  confer,  talk  it  out :  those 
who  can,  out  of  larger  purse  or  greater  leisure,  must 
form  a  bridge  of  living  personal  sympathy  between 
west  and  east  or  south ;  university  settlements  must 
multiply;  more  employers,  with  the  old  Franciscan 
self-devotion,  must  live  amongst  their  people  ;  Chris- 
tian men  of  wealth,  young  men  whose  hearts  are  not 
stiffened   in    money's   mould,    must   give   "all   they 
have  "  to  found,  so  to  speak,  Familistires  with  labour 
as  copartner.     The  copartnership  of  labour,  in  every 
possible   form,   that   is   the    next   step   in   fraternal 
evolution.     After   all,   beside  our  common   brother- 
hood, in  Christ's  Name,  what  else  can  have  a  claim  on 
you  ?     You  would   die  together  for  your  wives  and 
children  in  some  new  mutiny ;  you  would  go  down 
together,  ennobled  by  mutual  faith,  on  the  deck  of 
some  new  Birkenhead ;  and  are  you  to  fight  a  bitter 
agelong  battle  for  vested  interests  in  social  life  alone, 
when  human  nature,  duty,  God,  are  your  joint  ideals 
in    any    scene    of    danger    or    daring   beyond    the 
common  ? 

Yes,  the  reconciliation  of  estranged  men — that  is  the 
first  thing  we  have  to  work  for.  It  is  not  impossible 
to  formulate  conditions  of  reconciliation  between 
estranged  men.  There  must  be,  to  create  the  very 
desire  of  peace,  an  overmastering  attraction  of  motive  ; 
there  must  be  a  spring  of  sympathetic  feeling,  the 
magnetism  of  personal  contact,  a  belief  in  character 
above  all  material  issues ;  an  unqualified  acceptance 
of  mercy,  justice,  love  ;  a  community  of  hopes  fostered 
on  a  plane  high  above  the  material  plane,  which  is 
the  scene  of  conflict. 


210  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

In  other  words,  you  must  on  both  sides  wish  for 
social  peace;  you  must  feel  for  the  stress  of  the 
other  side  ;  you  must  quicken  your  sense  of  brother- 
hood ;  you  must  wish  to  have  and  to  share  the 
essential  conditions  of  a  higher  manhood  ;  your  ideals 
must  be  of  nobler  stuff  than  those  of  the  old  cash 

And  how  are  these  conditions  to  be  satisfied  ?  We 
answer  fearless  of  contradiction — in  Christ  alone. 
Realize  your  common  brotherhood  in  Him,  and  you 
crush  yourself;  you  will  see  Him,  you  will  serve  Him, 
in  the  humblest  of  His  members  ;  you  will,  after  Him, 
"empty  yourself"  to  bless  thereby  the  sunken,  the 
fallen,  even  the  less  happy ;  in  Him  you  cannot 
labour  for  the  "  meat  that  perisheth,"  save  that  with 
it  you  may  create  for  yourself,  and  no  less  for  others, 
at  least  that  material  minimum  without  which  religion 
itself  can  scarce  find  foothold  in  the  bodily  life.  We 
cannot  be  unmerciful,  whilst  we  enjoy  ;  unjust,  whilst 
we  reap ;  unloving,  while  others  harden  for  want  of 
sympathy  and  brotherhood. 

These  are  Christian  principles,  embodied  in  the 
Divine  Manhood.  Thus  was  He  reincarnated  in  His 
members,  in  the  martyrs,  the  great  Orders,  in  the 
earlier  and  higher  ideals  of  guilds  and  hospitals  and 
brotherhoods.  And,  to  save  society,  we  just  must  go 
back  to  the  old  fountain-head  of  Christian  sacrifice. 
Rank  is  nought,  wealth  nought ;  brotherhood  is  all. 
Let  us  make  up  our  minds  that  great  changes  are 
coming,  are  inevitable,  are  just,  and  let  us  surrender 
the  moth  and  the  rust.  "Welcome,"  let  us  say, 
"  many  changes,  if  thereby  we  may  rid  England  of 
social  hate  and  social  wrong."  You  can  spare,  let  us 
say  to  the  well  off,  a  good  deal  yet,  without  touch- 
ing the  environment  that  creates  character.  In 
fact,  your  character  will  be  better  and  purer  for 
less  self-indulgence.  And  even  of  what  is  left,  as 


well  as  of  what  is  taken,  you  can  still  share  in  much 
that  makes  life  happy  in  common,  and  not  arrogant 

It  is  possible  that  the  work  of  reconstruction  may 
carry  us  far  beyond  the  horizon  of  the  changes  that 
we  think  we  now  can  see.  We  may  easily  learn 
hereafter  to  accept  or  even  welcome  changes  that 
would  seem  revolutionary  to-day.  All  that  is  now 
essential  is  that  we  should  lay  aside  the  love  of  our 
individual  or  class  supremacy,  that  we  should  look 
straight  at  our  social  needs,  suspect  the  spirit  of  hate 
and  division,  and  manifest  in  all  ways,  single  and 
common,  our  sense  of  brotherhood  in  Christ,  the  social 

Do  not  let  us  deceive  ourselves  ;  society  is  certainly 
going  to  be  largely  reconstructed,  or  evolved — which 
you  will.  It  is  essential  to  its  continuity.  An  organism 
must  grow  or  die.  The  question  is  not,  "  How  can 
we  stop  as  we  are  ? "  That  is  impossible.  Rather  it 
is  this  :  "  You  have  an  alternative  before  you  :  which 
will  you  work  for?"  Disguise  it  as  we  may,  the 
choice  will  soon  be  seen  to  be  between  materialism 
and  Christ.  There  is  no  third  alternative.  If,  as  a 
man,  you  believe  in  nothing  beyond  the  struggle  for 
existence,  those  below  you  will  not  believe  in  aught 
else  either.  A  faithless  many  will  overpower  the 
faithless  few,  and  the  result  will  be  the  wreck  of  both. 
If  you  obstruct  the  growing  health,  education,  and 
happiness  of  the  community,  because  you  have  to  pay 
a  larger  share  of  the  cost  than  you  expected  ;  if  you 
ally  your  name  as  a  Churchman  (say)  to  unsanitary 
schools,  or  sweated  teachers,  or  long  hours  of  labour ; 
then  the  children  of  the  workers  will  grow  up  with 
less  belief  in  your  presentation  of  your  Master,  or 
perhaps  in  your  Master  Himself.  A  belief  in  a  prac- 
tical philosophy  of  mammon,  closed  by  a  struggle  for 
spoils,  will  issue  in  a  policy  of  extreme  secular 

212  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

socialism,  with  its  autocracy  in  education,  its  liber- 
tinism in  the  family,  its  denial  of  the  Divine.  That 
is  the  alternative  to  Christ. 

Christian  socialism,  then,  that  looks  to  Christ  the 
Reconciler,  is  just  a  faith  in  the  growing  reconcilia- 
tion of  the  needs  of  society.  It  is  not  revolutionary, 
but  progressive ;  it  means  the  ruin  of  none,  but  the 
unity  of  all ;  it  looks  for  compromise ;  it  calls  for 
sacrifice  ;  it  emphasizes  freedom  of  conscience,  but  a 
necessary  community  of  interests ;  it  advocates  all 
forms  of  co-operation ;  it  sets  no  final  limits  to  just 
social  reconstruction  ;  it  strives  to  effect  most  through 
the  awakened  spirit  of  conscious  brotherhood. 

On  individual  wealth,  on  mere  rank  per  se>  on  mere 
standards  of  society,  on  sectional  politics — dare  I 
add,  on  ecclesiastical  supremacy  ? — it  sets  no  store. 
Christian  character,  with  equal  opportunities  for  all, 
is  its  ultimate  aim.  And  this  faith,  this  aim,  this 
ideal,  is  ours  because  we  humbly  believe  it  to  be  the 
outcome  of  what  Christ  said  and  did.  Christ  alone 
is  the  social  Reconciler.  This,  then,  as  we  seem  to 
see  it,  is  His  abiding  social  work.  Because  much  in 
the  times  is  evil,  through  His  Church,  if  she  be  faith- 
ful, Christ  "  buys  up  "  the  social  "  opportunity." 

"If  she  be  faithful!"  Yet  how  hard  to  decide 
the  limits  and  claims  of  faith!  Indeed,  in  social 
matters,  it  is  one  of  our  chief  difficulties  to  bring 
to  common  agreement  those  who  earnestly  seek  to 
be  faithful  to  Christ's  teaching,  but  who  yet  differ 
as  to  whither  His  guidance  leads. 

But,  surely,  if  Christ  be  the  social  Reconciler,  it 
is  above  all  amongst  His  own  disciples  that  unity 
in  social  reconciliation  will  find  its  natural  home. 
We  shall,  at  least,  as  Christians  be  one  in  principles. 
Justice,  mercy,  love,  sacrifice,  will  to  us  at  least 
never  appeal  in  vain.  Even  where  we  differ  in 
programmes,  our  criticism  of  one  another  will  be 


generous  :  we  shall  be  sparing  of  charges  of  in- 
consistency, seeing  that,  in  dealing  with  a  growing 
and  complex  organism,  our  schemes  and  plans 
must  necessarily  seem  often  inconsistent,  if  they  too 
are  to  change  with  our  growth.  On  the  common 
ground  of  Christian  service  and  Christian  principle, 
we  shall  strive,  each  according  to  our  conscience, 
to  judge  every  programme  proposed. 

And,  indeed,  it  would  appear  that,  just  now,  when 
England  and  her  Church  seem  really  to  have  awakened 
to  a  sense  of  the  problems  that  beset  us,  it  were  the 
pressing  need  of  the  moment  to  reconcile  to  common 
discussion  and  effort  the  cautious  and  the  eager,  the 
timid  and  the  overbold. 

In  the  service  of  Christ  was  found  room  for  very 
various  types  of  character,  even  in  the  limited  circle 
of  His  disciples :  in  the  solution  of  our  social  ques- 
tions, room  must  still  be  found  for  all.  No  party 
politics,  no  religious  newspaper,  no  opposed  type 
of  Churchmanship,  should  keep  us  asunder.  O un- 
common ideal  for  a  civilized  community  is  the 
supremacy  of  Christian  character :  to  achieve  this 
is  a  task  not  impossible  to  the  Christian  Church, 
if  her  members  be  one ;  not  impossible,  else  were 
her  very  birth  illusive.  But  to  be  one,  and  so  to 
achieve  this  ideal  for  civilization,  we  need,  above 
all  things,  to  be  reconciled  in  Christ,  our  common 
Master,  to  the  faithfulness  of  one  another's  hopes 
and  purposes,  and  to  be  willing  to  discuss,  where 
now  we  are  often  only  willing  to  dispute.  Thus 
only  can  Christian  principle  leaven  the  future  ;  thus 
only  can  we  deliver  ourselves  from  fruitlessness,  and 
the  world  from  loss. 



REV.  A.  L.  LILLEY,  M.A. 

"  He  that  hath  no  rule  over  his  own  spirit  is  like  a  city  that  is 
broken  down,  and  without  walls." — PROV.  xxv.  28. 

THAT  is  to  say,  the  man  who  is  not  master  of  him- 
self is  in  a  fair  way  to  become  the  slave  of  others. 
Not  to  be  master  of  one's  self  is  to  be  defenceless, 
and  open  to  all  attacks.  The  man  who  does  not 
know  his  own  mind  has  no  criterion  of  value  by 
which  he  may  appraise  the  convictions  of  others. 
And  so  he  is  the  prey  of  every  mind  with  more  grip 
and  tenacity  of  conviction  than  his  own.  He  is  the 
man  carried  about  by  every  wind  of  doctrine.  Or  the 
man  who  is  wanting  in  firmness  of  will,  in  stability 
of  purpose,  has  no  criterion  by  which  to  estimate  the 
importance  of  his  own  experiences,  of  the  events  in 
the  world  outside  him  which  affect  his  life.  He  is 
always  attaching  a  quite  undue  importance  to  the 
shocks  and  assaults  of  fortune.  He  is  the  man  of 
moods.  Fortune  seems  to  assail  him  more  bitterly 
than  others,  not  because  fortune  is  really  fiercer  in 
its  assaults  upon  him,  but  because  he  is  weaker  than 
others  to  resist  them.  Or,  again,  the  man  who  is 
without  the  spirit  of  order,  who  has  no  instinctive 
plan  of  life  arranged  on  lines  of  clear  design,  is  with- 
out a  criterion  of  value  among  the  claims  made  upon 
his  thought,  or  his  feeling,  or  his  action.  He  does 


not  know  where  to  yield  and  where  to  insist.  He 
is  obstinate  where  he  ought  to  make  allowances. 
He  is  facile  and  yielding  where  he  ought  to  be  firm. 
We  say  of  him  that  he  has  no  judgment.  In  each 
case  alike  is  it  true  that  the  man  who  is  not  master 
of  himself  is  on  the  way  to  be  a  slave  to  others. 
The  man  who  does  not  know  his  own  mind  will  most 
certainly  be  the  slave  of  those  who  do.  The  man  of 
moods  is  the  miserable  slave  of  his  own  impressions. 
The  man  who  lacks  judgment  is  the  baffled  slave  of 
events  rather  than  their  master.  "  He  that  hath  no 
rule  over  his  own  spirit  is  like  a  city  that  is  broken 
down,  and  without  walls." 

That  is  the  vision  of  failure  and  defeat  and  despair 
in  the  individual  life.  And  the  vision  of  success  and 
mastery  in  the  individual  life  is  the  contrast  to  all 
this.  Success  is  to  the  man  who  knows  his  own 
mind,  who  has  a  firm  will  and  a  steady  purpose, 
whose  judgment  is  sane,  who  has  rule  over  his  spirit. 
Self-government  is  of  the  very  essence  of  success — 
of  all  success,  and  especially  of  the  highest  spiritual 
success.  To  be  able  to  evoke  order  out  of  the  world's 
disorder,  you  must  first  have  established  some  kind  of 
order  amid  the  complex  tangle  of  motive  and  desire 
which  you  feel  within.  But  when  you  have  become  ever 
so  slightly  master  of  yourself,  when  you  have  even 
begun  to  rule  your  spirit,  you  have  a  kind  of  magical 
effect  upon  the  world  without  you.  It  is  not  so 
much  that  you  laboriously  seek  to  do  the  things  you 
desire,  as  that  the  things  you  desire  get  themselves 
done  because  you  are  there,  with  your  clear  insight, 
and  your  keen  judgment,  and  your  absolute  certainty 
of  what  you  want.  Even  on  the  highest  plane  of 
human  activity,  success  depends  not  so  much  on 
great  gifts  of  intellect,  or  on  great  gifts  of  heart,  or 
on  great  powers  of  mere  endurance,  as  on  a  singleness 
of  aim,  a  directness  of  attack,  a  unity  of  purpose 

2i6  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

among  even  moderate  gifts  of  intellect  and  of  heart 
and  of  work.  It  is  the  youth  just  emerging  into 
manhood  who  thinks  that  the  whole  world  is  open 
to  the  man  of  mere  intellect,  and  who  despises  every 
practical  suggestion  which  does  not  answer  to  the 
most  rigid  intellectual  tests.  It  is  the  young  man 
in  the  first  glow  of  enthusiastic  ardour  for  a  noble 
cause  who  thinks  that  his  mere  enthusiasm  must 
carry  all  before  it ;  that  there  is  a  limitless  power  in 
deep  and  sincere  emotion.  But  the  man  of  riper 
wisdom  very  soon  discovers  that  the  real  secret  of 
strength  is  a  strange  gift  of  self-knowledge  and  self- 
mastery  which  defies  analysis ;  that  the  world  is  in 
some  degree  taken  by  storm  by  the  man  who  can 
rule  his  own  spirit.  The  highest  spiritual  faculty 
is  not  intellect  alone,  is  not  heart  alone.  It  is  self- 
government.  It  is  the  possession  of  one's  self,  the 
transcendent  gift  of  an  easy  and  perfect  mastery  of 
the  powers  of  mind  and  heart  one  has.  It  is  the 
single  eye  which  fills  the  whole  body  with  light.  It 
is  that  true  might  which  alone  can  create,  and  which 
creates  only  the  true  right.  Carlyle  was  never  more 
fatally  misunderstood  and  never  more  worthy  of 
being  understood  than  when  he  insisted  with  cha- 
racteristic vehemence  that  might  was  right.  If  God 
is  in  this  world  at  all,  in  it  effectively  as  the  Spirit 
that  fills  it  with  life  and  assures  it  of  victory,  then 
assuredly  that  which  has  in  it  the  greatest  power  of 
success  must  have  in  it  also  the  greatest  force  of 
right.  The  man  who  is  lord  of  himself  is  God's  man 
of  might.  He  must  be  also  the  man  who  can  best 
work  out  God's  plan  of  right. 

And  what  is  true  for  the  individual  life  of  each 
of  us  is  true  also  for  the  life  of  the  state,  and  pre- 
eminently for  the  life  of  the  democratic  state.  Indeed, 
I  ought  not  to  distinguish  between  them,  for  the 
democratic  state  is  only  the  state  come  of  age,  the 


state  just  entered  into  the  full  heritage  of  manhood. 
The  history  of  political  development  so  far  has  been 
only  the  history  of  the  liberation  of  all  the  elements 
of  the  national  life,  the  giving  free  play  to  all  the 
forces  that  make  up  the  national  character.  The 
ideal  of  politics  has  been  an  insistence  upon  and  a 
struggle  for  the  rights  of  subject  classes.  But  now 
the  state  has  finally  emerged.  All  classes  in  the  state 
have  become  articulate.  And  so  the  old  political 
ideals  have  become  obsolete.  With  the  advent  of  the 
democratic  state,  a  new  keynote  must  be  struck  in 
politics.  A  new  idea  of  government  is  already  dimly 
getting  itself  formulated.  Government  is  no  longer 
what  it  has  been — the  rule  of  one  part  of  the  body 
politic  by  another ;  a  rule  met  with  endless  protest, 
and  finally  successful  protest.  For  the  future  govern- 
ment will  be  the  attempt  of  the  nation  to  rule  itself, 
to  get  to  know  its  own  mind,  to  brace  its  will  and 
steady  its  aims,  and  to  acquire  an  instinct  of  sane 
and  ready  judgment. 

Our  imaginations  have  hardly  got  hold  as  yet  of 
the  fact  that  government  in  the  true  sense,  self- 
government,  is  only  just  beginning  for  the  modern 
state.  In  a  kind  of  dim  way  we  have  come  to 
realize  the  dangers  without  having  at  all  caught  the 
inspiration  of  this  new  political  fact.  And  the  dangers 
are  all  too  real.  There  is,  first  of  all,  the  danger  of 
our  altogether  failing  to  appreciate  the  change,  of  our 
clinging  to  antiquated  notions  of  government,  of  our 
looking  upon  it  as  somehow  hostile  and  foreign  to 
us — a  thing  to  be  assailed  by  claims  of  rights  and 
privileges.  That  is  to  say,  there  is  the  danger  of 
our  not  seeing  that  the  democratic  state  has  arrived. 
But  even  when  we  have  learned  something  of  the 
extent  of  the  change,  there  are  dangers  still.  The 
democratic  state  may  not  aim  at  ruling  itself  at  all. 
Self-government  may  be  the  very  last  ideal  it  will 

218  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

set  before  itself.  Almost  certainly  the  state  will 
follow  the  development  of  the  individual.  Heady 
youth  will  be  for  it  too,  most  probably,  the  season  of 
the  pride  of  intellect.  There  are  signs  of  such  a 
tendency  among  us  even  now.  There  is  too  great  a 
tendency,  perhaps,  among  the  most  ardent  spirits  of 
the  new  movements  in  the  sphere  of  politics  to  pin 
their  entire  faith  to  cut-and-dried  systems  which 
have  been  elaborated  in  the  schools,  which,  as  Walt 
Whitman  says,  "may  prove  very  well  in  lecture- 
rooms,  but  may  not  prove  at  all  in  the  open  air/' 

Such  a  danger,  however,  is  not  really  serious,  for 
the  very  obvious  reason  that  the  ordinary  democracy, 
like  the  ordinary  youth,  is  not  severely  intellectual. 
But  there  is  a  real  danger  of  the  state  in  its  new 
self-consciousness  being  driven  into  perilous  courses 
by  great  moods  of  passion  or  emotion.  Emotion 
may  be  the  cheapest  thing  in  the  world,  and  it  is  the 
most  satisfying  to  that  higher  vanity  of  the  spirit 
which  we  all  find  it  so  difficult  to  get  rid  of.  There  is 
a  great  deal  too  much  of  flabby  sentiment,  already  in 
the  process  of  degeneration  into  a  hideous  semi-reli- 
gious cant,  mingled  with  the  movements  which  repre- 
sent our  nascent  national  self-consciousness.  And  it  is 
dangerous  not  only  because  it  is  so  cheap,  and  makes 
us  so  self-satisfied,  but  also  because  it  is  uncontrolled 
and  irrational,  and  may  sweep  us  as  readily  into  evil 
courses  as  into  good.  And,  above  all,  sentiment  so 
easily  becomes  unreal,  so  easily  degenerates  into 
sentimentality — and  especially  in  public  life.  Each 
of  us  is  for  himself  ashamed  of  pretending  to  a 
sentiment  he  does  not  feel,  or  of  pretending  to  it  in 
a  degree  greater  than  he  does  feel  it.  The  more 
genuine  our  personal  emotions  are,  the  less  likely 
are  they  to  emerge  in  any  self-conscious  parade,  the 
more  likely  to  be  hidden  away  as  the  silent  secret 
springs  of  action.  But  in  public  life  we  easily  lose 


that  nice  quality  of  self-respect,  that  fine  temper  of 
emotional  sincerity.  It  is  not  nearly  so  difficult  for 
us  to  persuade  ourselves  that  we  share  in  a  sentiment 
which  is  in  the  air.  Epidemics  of  spurious  emotion 
and  crazy  sentimentalism  are  all  too  possible  in  the 
democratic  state.  And  they  are  only  destructive. 
They  are  the  fevers  of  the  body  politic,  infectious 
and  deadly,  leaving  it  limp  and  feeble  and  ex- 
hausted. The  state-life,  indeed,  needs  sentiment. 
It  wants  to  be  permeated  through  and  through  with 
a  sentiment  which  is  sincere  and  noble  and  per- 
manent. In  order  that  any  life — the  life  of  nation 
or  of  individual — may  grow  to  self-mastery,  it  must 
have  an  ideal  which  can  satisfy  the  heart  and  focus 
and  inspire  the  highest  energies.  But  such  an  ideal 
cannot  be  forced.  It  cannot  be  built  up  by  mere 
verbal  insistence,  by  the  noisy  rant  of  even  well-inten- 
tioned reformers.  The  Fabian  method  is  the  only 
sure  and  certain  one  in  building  up  a  great  national 
ideal. .  Patience  sometimes  seems,  to  hearts  on  fire 
for  the  reform  of  some  crying  injustice,  an  act  of 
cowardice.  But  the  patience  which  never  gives  way, 
which  works  and  strives,  which  ever  hopes,  and 
knows  no  touch  of  despair,  is  the  very  condition  of 
possessing  one's  soul.  Enthusiasm,  patience,  faith, — 
these  will  gradually  build  up  a  true  national  ideal. 
But — let  me  say  it  once  more — such  an  ideal  can 
never  be  forced. 

And  it  is  on  the  possession  of  such  an  ideal  that 
the  possibility  of  self-government  depends — that 
self-government  which  is  the  true  function  of  the 
democratic  state,  for  which  it  has  come  into  being 
and  which  it  must  live  to  effectuate.  That  is,  in  my 
mind,  the  real  inspiration  of  the  new  political  move- 
ments. They  raise  the  state  at  once  to  the  higher 
spiritual  plane.  They  lay  upon  it  the  great  business 
of  ruling  over  its  own  spirit.  They  suggest  new 

220  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

vistas  of  government,  in  which  the  ideal  will  be  no 
longer  the  rule  of  one  part  of  the  state,  of  one  class 
by  another,  but  the  attempt  of  the  state  to  discover 
its  collective  consciousness,  to  know  its  own  mind. 
What  seem  so  clearly  to  us  the  dangers  in  the  way 
are  quite  real  dangers.  But  they  are  the  dangers 
incident  to  youth.  They  are  the  dangers  which  must 
be  passed  through  and  overcome  before  the  full 
responsibility  of  manhood  can  be  attained.  In  spite 
of  all  the  crudities,  the  insincerities,  the  youthful 
vanities  and  foibles  of  the  new  democratic  move- 
ment, the  modern  state  is  building  up  for  itself  an 
ideal,  is  marching  steadily  towards  the  self-mastery 
and  self-possession  in  the  power  of  which  it  will  be 
able  to  work  out  its  ideal.  Nay,  these  crudities  and 
foibles  are  themselves  but  the  evidence  that  under- 
neath the  healthy  life  is  working  itself  out  and  trying 
to  discover  a  method  of  freely  and  adequately 
expressing  itself.  What  that  method  of  expression 
may  be,  what  will  be  the  new  forms  of  government 
in  the  democratic  state,  I  do  not  know,  and  I  hardly 
care  to  know.  They  may  be  modifications  of  the 
present  forms  ;  they  may  be  quite  new  and  changed 
forms.  At  any  rate,  they  will  be  the  forms  through 
which  the  new  state-life  can  best  express  itself. 
They  will  be  the  forms  of  the  self-government  of  a 
free  people.  For  us  the  important  question  is  not 
how  the  forms  of  government  are  changing,  but 
how  the  consciousness  which  creates  these  forms  is 
changing.  Are  we  alive  to  the  fact  that  democracy 
is  nothing  in  itself  if  it  does  not  lead  us  on  to  this 
great  and  difficult  but  inspiring  work  of  self-govern- 
ment, just  as  the  ardours  of  youth  are  nothing  if  they 
do  not  lead  us  on  to  the  fruitful  powers  and  activities 
of  manhood?  Are  we  alive  to  the  fact  that  the 
state-life,  the  life  of  the  whole  nation,  is  for  the  first 
time  in  history  emerging  upon  the  plane  of  the 


highest  spiritual  endeavour,  where  the  watchwords 
will  be  not  rights  and  self-assertion  and  sectional 
conflict,  but  duties  and  self-mastery,  and  the  recon- 
ciliation and  harmony  of  all  sectional  interests  ?  If 
we  are,  we  are  reading  the  signs  of  the  times  aright. 



REV.  W.   C.   GORDON  LANG,  M.A., 

Fellow  and  Dean  of  Divinity  of  Magdalen  College,  and  Vicar  of  St. 

Mary's,  Oxford. 

"  Give  unto  the  Lord  the  glory  due  unto  His  name :  bring  an 
offering,  and  come  before  Him :  worship  the  Lord  in  the  beauty  of 
holiness." — I  CHRON.  xvi.  29. 

THE  subject  of  which  we  have  to  think  this  after- 
noon seems  at  first  sight  remote  from  the  subjects  of 
close  practical  interest  which  have  hitherto  engaged 
your  attention.  But  in  reality  there  is  no  subject 
on  which  it  is  of  greater  importance  that  those 
interested  in  the  well-being  of  society  should  have 
some  clear  principle,  and  none  in  which  it  is  more 
difficult  to  find  such  a  principle,  and  to  apply  it. 
It  comes  before  us  in  a  hundred  complicated, 
practical  shapes.  Ought  picture-galleries  to  be  open 
on  Sundays  ?  Is  all  good  music  in  itself  religious  ? 
Is  this  picture  one  which  a  Christian  ought  to  admire, 
irrespective  of  its  subject,  merely  for  the  sake  of  its 
form  ?  Does  the  cleverness  or  the  power  of  this 
drama  cover  its  unsavoury  morality  ?  And  so  forth. 
These  are  questions  which  come  before  us  daily. 
Modern  life  is  so  varied,  so  rapid,  and  so  intense, 
that  our  senses  are  quickened  ;  and  in  response  to 
this  quickening  of  the  senses  there  is  a  constant 

1  Taken  from  shorthand  notes. 


supply  of  new,  and  even  surprising  sensations,  which 
fascinate  and  delight  before  we  can  summon  any  first 
principle    for  their   criticism    or   control.      The  one 
thing  needful,  then,  is  to  pause  in  the  midst  of  this 
pressure,  and  endeavour  to  fix  upon  our  minds  some 
one  guiding  principle  which  shall  regulate  the  Chris- 
tian's sense  of  beauty.     At  present  it  is  impossible 
to  do  more  than   suggest  such  a  general  principle ; 
you   must  apply  it  to  circumstances  as   they  arise. 
The  principle,  then,  which  guides  the  Christian  in  the 
control  of  his  sense  of  beauty  is  simply  the  Incarna- 
tion itself,  the  Word   made  flesh.     This  involves  that 
the  body  with  all  its  senses,  which  in  different  degrees 
crave  the  beautiful  for  their  satisfaction,  can  be  so 
consecrated  as  to  be  worthy  of  the  indwelling  of  God  ; 
and  that  the  senses  at  once  can  and  ought  to  be  as 
really  as  the  spirit  a  way  to  God.     If  we  follow  this 
guiding  principle,  the  quest  of  the  beautiful  through 
the  senses  becomes  not  merely  a  possible  object  of 
Christian   endeavour,  but   one   without   which   it   is 
impossible  to  realize  the  fulness  of  that  Godward  life 
which   was  manifested   in  Christ.      For  God   is  the 
ultimate  Source  and  Satisfaction  of  our  capacity  to 
seek  and  to  know  the  Beautiful.    When  we  see  the  rich 
colours  of  a  sunset,  or  when  we  are  thrilled  by  the 
sound  of  music,  we  are  conscious  at  once  of  a  sense 
of  exquisite  delight,  and  also  of  a  strange  yearning 
for  something  only  hinted,  not  disclosed.    It  is  difficult 
to  know  whether  the  sense  of  delight  or  the  sense 
of  yearning  is  the  stronger.     And  the  reason  of  this 
is,  that  beauty  as  we  feel  it  is  only  partial ;  that  it 
is  at  best  but  "  the  pledge  "  of  some  "  beauty  in  its 
plenitude."      It   is   something    more   than  the  mere 
passing  pleasurable  excitement  of  certain  nerves ;  it 
is  the   momentary  insight   into  a  vaster   beauty  of 
which  that  which  we  feel  is  but  a  partial  revelation. 
Now,  this  perfect  beauty  can  be  none  other  than  God 

224  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

Himself.  "  We  must  believe,"  as  Mr.  Balfour  has  said, 
"that  somewhere  and  for  some  Being  there  shines 
the  unchanging  splendour  of  beauty,  of  which  in 
nature  and  in  art  we  see,  each  of  us  from  our  own 
standpoint,  only  passing  gleams  and  stray  reflections." 
If,  then,  this  perfect  beauty  be  God  Himself;  and  if, 
as  is  manifest,  there  cannot  be  two  absolutely  perfect 
beings  in  the  universe,  then  perfect  beauty  and  perfect 
goodness  are  ultimately  one.  God  Himself,  then,  is 
the  End  of  the  quest  of  the  beautiful ;  and  in  God 
there  is  complete  identity  between  the  beautiful  and 
the  good. 

Thus,  there  cannot  be  any  final  divorce  between 
beauty  and  goodness.  If,  then,  we  find  that  the 
ultimate  tendency  of  any  form  of  art  is  to  under- 
mine in  the  artist,  or  in  the  person  who  delights  in 
the  product  of  his  art,  what  we  know  to  be  the  best 
in  human  nature — goodness,  in  short — then  we  may 
be  sure  that  it  does  not  represent  the  highest  order 
of  beauty.  Pressed  to  its  issue,  it  would  involve  the 
divorce  between  the  beautiful  and  the  good,  which 
in  the  truth  of  things  is  impossible.  But  this  control 
of  the  sense  of  beauty,  in  harmony  with  the  law  of 
goodness,  cannot  be  achieved  by  repeated  questions 
of  the  conscience  in  each  particular  case.  It  must  be 
by  the  general  direction  or  set  of  the  central  principle 
within  us  which  regulates  the  senses — that  is,  the 
personal  will.  The  security  for  the  sense  of  beauty 
is,  then,  a  will  which  is  in  obedience  to  the  law  of 
goodness  or  to  God.  Mr.  Bridges  has  finely  said — 

"All  earthly  beauty  hath  one  cause  or  proof 
To  lead  the  pilgrim  soul  to  heaven  above.  .  .  . 
Joy's  ladder  it  is,  reaching  from  home  to  home  ; 
The  best  of  all  the  work  that  all  was  good, 
Whereof 'twas  writ  the  angels  aye  upclomb, 
Down  sped,  and  at  the  top  the  Lord  God  stood." 

To  maintain  this   upward  reference  of  beauty  to 
God  Who  is  its  ultimate  perfection,  that  is  the  work 


of  the  will  of  man.  As  such,  it  is  a  work  not  merely 
consistent  with  religion,  but  a  real  part  of  religion 
itself;  it  is  involved  in  the  dedication  of  the  whole 
man  to  God. 

Religion  has  in  the  past  given  witness  to  this  truth. 
In  the  Old  Testament  the  beauty  that  appealed  to 
the  senses  was  again  and  again  used  as  the  symbol 
of  the  majesty  and  holiness  of  God.  The  tabernacle 
was  clothed  with  the  richest  colour,  and  adorned 
with  the  choicest  embroidery.  The  prophets  beheld 
God  seated  on  a  sapphire  throne.  The  temple  in 
Jerusalem  was  to  be  exceeding  magnifical,  as  a 
worthy  symbol  of  the  glory  of  God.  So  in  the 
New  Testament.  Our  Lord  Himself  was  not  only  in 
His  Being  the  perfect  union  of  the  Divine  and  the 
human,  but  expressed  repeatedly  in  His  parables  and 
in  His  illustrations  the  truth  that  the  things  seen  are 
symbols  of  the  things  unseen.  Nature  to  Him  as  it 
appeals  to  the  senses  was  the  sacrament  of  unseen 
realities.  It  is  most  remarkable  that  when  St.  John 
beholds  in  a  vision  the  Man  Who  had  been  his 
familiar  Friend,  He  is  clothed  in  all  the  beauty  that 
could  entrance  the  senses — His  head  white  as  snow, 
His  eyes  as  a  flame  of  fire,  His  feet  like  fine  brass, 
His  voice  as  the  sound  of  many  waters,  His  counte- 
nance as  the  sun  shining  in  its  strength.  In  that 
same  vision  the  beauty  and  the  glory  of  God  and 
of  His  Church  are  described  to  us  as  mirrored  and 
revealed  in  the  beauties  of  the  gold,  the  pearls,  the 
jewels,  of  the  heavenly  city.  It  was  a  significant 
and  a  true  instinct,  which  led  the  early  Christians, 
when  once  they  dared  to  represent  the  human  form 
of  our  Lord,  to  represent  it  as  one  in  which  the 
highest  goodness  and  most  perfect  human  beauty 
were  joined.  The  great  thinkers  of  the  Alexan- 
drine school  maintained,  as  one  of  their  first  principles, 
the  intrinsic  goodness  of  beauty  and  the  beauty  of 


226  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

goodness.  Even  in  the  ascetic  ages  of  the  Church,  the 
monks  could  not  refrain  from  representing  their  sense 
of  God  in  the  most  beautiful  churches,  the  richest 
colours,  and  the  most  perfect  development  of  musical 

And  yet,  though  religion  has  given  this  witness, 
it  cannot  be  denied  that,  on  the  whole,  she  has  been 
timorous  of  the  full  use  of  the  sense  of  beauty.  And 
this  is  natural.  Beauty,  unlike  goodness,  appeals  to 
us  through  the  medium  of  the  senses,  and  the  senses 
are,  on  one  side  of  them,  closely  allied  to  the  lower 
physical  nature  of  man.  Thus,  without  the  strongest 
effort  of  the  will,  it  is  difficult  to  prevent  the  sense 
of  the  beautiful  from  ministering  to  the  lower  lusts. 
Some  of  you  will  remember  the  great  fable  of  Plato, 
wherein  he  describes  the  soul  of  man  as  a  chariot 
drawn  by  two  steeds.  One  of  them  is  white,  upright, 
cleanly  made — the  follower  of  true  glory,  guided  by 
Reason,  who  stands  as  the  charioteer.  The  other  is 
crooked  and  coarse,  "  with  grey  and  bloodshot  eyes." 
And  when  the  charioteer  beholds  some  vision  of 
beauty,  the  strong  coarse  steed  plunges  forward  in 
order  to  satisfy  the  lower  lusts.  The  other  struggles 
to  keep  true  to  the  guiding  charioteer ;  and  so  it  is 
not  without  wrenching  and  struggling  and  forcing 
that  the  lower  nature  is  curbed,  and  the  soul  is  able 
"  to  follow  the  beautiful  in  modesty  and  fear."  Pagan 
societies  looked  at  the  beautiful  with  the  bloodshot 
eyes  of  the  steed  of  lust.  This  downward  drag  of 
the  sense  of  beauty  was  almost  inevitable,  because 
there  was  no  force,  no  conviction  which  could  main- 
tain the  upward  reference  of  the  will  to  the  perfect 
beauty  Who  was  also  perfect  goodness.  And  thus 
the  pagan  sense  of  beauty  became  in  truth  "  procuress 
to  the  lords  of  hell,"  and  minister  to  bodily  lust. 
The  early  Christians  were  familiar  with  this  degrada- 
tion of  the  sense  of  beauty,  and  it  was  not  unnatural 


that  it  should  fill  them  with  suspicion  and  fear. 
Material  beauty  was  to  them  a  thing  surrounded  with 
the  memorials  of  the  shame  and  the  ruin  that  it  had 
wrought,  and  they  feared  to  sully  their  purity  by 
approaching  it,  even  in  the  name  of  the  Word  made 
flesh.  And  thus  there  was  need  of  a  redemption 
of  the  sense  of  beauty,  of  a  revelation  given  to  man 
which  was  adequate  to  nerve  the  will  in  an  upward 
raising  of  the  senses  to  God.  The  will  of  man  must 
first  be  redeemed  from  that  set  towards  evil  which 
had  dragged  down  beauty  in  its  course,  and  then  it 
must  be  sustained  by  a  power  which  could  keep  the 
beauty  in  touch  with  the  goodness  of  God. 

It  was  this  gift  of  a  power  which  at  once  redeemed 
and  sustained  the  will  of  man  towards  God  which 
was  given  to  the  world  in  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ. 
But — and  this  is  where  Christian  thought  has  often 
failed  to  make  the  necessary  advance — when  re- 
demption has  been  accomplished,  then  the  appropria- 
tion of  beauty  in  the  Name  of  Christ  should  begin. 
It  is  when  the  will  has  been  redeemed,  and  is,  in  the 
strength  of  Christ,  set  towards  God,  that  it  can  trust 
itself  to  the  fullest  enjoyment  and  cultivation  of  the 
sense  of  beauty.  This  is  the  truth  of  the  saying 
that  "  to  the  pure  all  things  are  pure."  It  is  involved 
in  the  beatitude,  "  Blessed  are  the  meek :  for  they 
shall  inherit  the  earth."  "The  meek" — the  surrendered 
will — it  is  this  which  has  the  right  to  embrace  in  its 
fullest  variety  and  richness  that  world  of  beauty 
which  responds  to  the  senses  which  God  has  given. 
Thus  there  is  perhaps  no  Christian  work  in  our  time 
which  is  more  necessary  than  to  follow  Christ  in  the 
redemption  of  the  sense  of  beauty.  We  have  need 
of  a  new  knight-errantry,  which  shall  rescue  the  sense 
of  the  beautiful  from  the  false  tyrants  of  lust  and  sin, 
who  have  so  often  enthralled  her,  and  shall  bring  her 
out  into  the  freedom  and  the  purity  of  Christ.  For 

228  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

the  individual  it  is  a  real  failure  to  realize  the  fulness 
of  life  if  he  does  not,  so  far  as  he  can,  and  as  God 
has  gifted  him,  train,  perfect,  and  discipline  the  life 
of  the  senses.  Increase  in  the  power  of  appreciating 
beauty  ought  to  be  a  real  mark  of  advance  in  the 
Christian  life.  And  socially,  the  Christian  must  seek 
everywhere  and  at  all  times  to  redeem,  not  to  stifle, 
or  to  thwart,  or  to  suspect,  the  craving  for  the  beau- 
tiful which  is  so  widespread  in  our  time.  It  reveals 
itself — how  can  it  be  otherwise? — often  in  the  poorest 
and,  indeed,  most  vulgar  forms ;  but  everywhere  it  is 
a  witness  of  a  human  need  which  God  wills  to  meet. 
If,  for  example,  there  be  a  delight  to  the  hard-pressed 
business  man  in  the  spectacle  of  that  union  of  the 
rhythm  of  music  and  the  rhythm  of  motion  which  is 
the  meaning  of  the  dance,  this,  poor  as  it  may  seem 
to  many,  is  a  real  sign  of  the  craving  for  the  beautiful. 
And,  just  as  the  Christian  will  not  suspect,  but  will 
welcome,  and  seek  to  perfect  all  forms  of  goodness, 
however  imperfect  they  may  be — will  make  the  most 
of  them  rather  than  the  least  of  them — so  he  ought 
to  welcome,  not  to  suspect,  these  elementary  forms  of 
a  craving  for  the  beautiful.  He  ought  to  make  the 
most  of  them,  to  perfect  them,  to  minister  to  them 
in  a  manner  that  shall  lead  them  on  to  something 
higher  and  nobler  and  liker  God.  You  will  under- 
stand how  impossible  it  is  to  apply  this  thought  within 
the  limits  of  a  short  sermon  to  the  details  of  actual 
life  ;  but  to  meditate  upon  it  will  keep  one  true  at 
once  to  the  claims  of  purity,  and  to  the  claims  of 
beauty  in  those  complicated  questions  which  agitate 
our  life  to-day. 

One  word  in  conclusion.  It  is  an  act  of  great 
boldness  for  any  man  to  enter  thus  fearlessly  into 
the  quest  of  the  beautiful  through  the  senses.  The 
danger  of  finding  in  these  senses  only  the  occasion  of 
sin  is  great  and  constant.  It  has  caused  the  wreckage 


not  only  of  great  lives,  but  of  great  societies.  It  can 
be  averted  only  by  the  most  resolute  discipline  of 
the  will,  only  by  its  most  complete  surrender  to  the 
cause  of  purity  and  goodness  as  it  is  revealed  to  us 
in  our  Lord  and  Saviour.  It  demands  that  a  man  in 
his  own  nature  should  be  redeemed  and  sustained  by 
the  strength  of  that  perfect  will  of  God.  He  who 
would  enter  for  himself  and  for  his  society  the  quest 
of  the  beautiful  has  need  more,  perhaps,  than  any 
other,  to  bring  himself  to  the  foot  of  the  Cross  of 
Christ,  and  there  to  ask  that  he  may  be  inspired  by 
Christ's  own  perfect  sacrifice  of  self  to  God. 




' '  And  even  things  without  life  giving  sound,  whether  pipe  or  harpr 
except  they  give  a  distinction  in  the  sounds,  how  shall  it  be  known 
what  is  piped  or  harped  ?  ...  So  likewise  ye,  except  ye  utter  by  the 
tongue  words  easy  to  be  understood,  how  shall  it  be  known  what  is 
spoken  ?  for  ye  shall  speak  into  the  air.  .  .  .  Therefore  if  I  know  not 
the  meaning  of  the  voice,  I  shall  be  unto  him  that  speaketh  a  barbarian, 
and  he  that  speaketh  shall  be  a  barbarian  unto  me." — I  COR.  xiv.  7, 
9,  ii. 

"  ORTHODOXY  is  my  doxy  " — so  the  clever  phrase 
runs  ;  yet  that  is  exactly  what  it  cannot  be.  If  its 
note  lay  in  its  being  mine,  it  could  never  put  out  the 
claim  to  be  orthodox.  By  making  that  claim,  it 
asserts  that  it  is  not  mine,  but  yours.  The  word 
would  be  absolutely  devoid  of  all  meaning  if  right 
thinking  were  merely  an  individual's  own  affair ;  just 
as  truth  would  have  ceased  to  exist  if  it  were  "  what 
each  man  troweth."  So  far  as  it  is  this,  it  is  nothing ; 
it  has  not  begun  to  be.  To  use  the  name  of  truth 
is  to  assert  that  we  can  overstep  the  limits  of  each 
man's  private  trowings,  and  can  arrive  at  some  con- 
clusion which  is  independent  of  who  thinks  it,  and 
which  is  common  to  all  who  think.  If  such  a 
result  is  unattainable,  then  we  have  despaired  of 

Nothing,  then,  can  be  more  ridiculous  than  to 
claim  orthodoxy  for  a  private  opinion.  If  religion 
is  a  concern  of  the  hidden  spirit,  of  course  there  is 

DOGMA — A    SOCIAL    FORCE.  231 

no  such  thing  as  orthodoxy ;  each  worships  alone 
with  his  God  ;  each  answers  to  himself  alone,  before 
God,  for  what  he  troweth.  And  there  may  well  be 
a  noble  mysticism  which  recoils  from  all  outward 
expression  of  its  spiritual  communion,  too  sadly  con- 
scious of  its  pitiful  inadequacy  to  convey  by  any 
language  to  others,  or  even  to  itself,  the  mystery 
that  is,  nevertheless,  so  solemn  and  so  sweet.  Such 
a  nobility  of  spiritual  sentiment  speaks  to  us  from 
the  heart  of  Arthur  Clough,  who,  shrinking  from  the 
ruthless  and  clamorous  logic  with  which  W.  G.  Ward 
hammered  at  the  doors  of  his  delicate  soul,  fled  apart 
to  murmur,  in  timorous  solitude, that  unhymned  hymn, 
which  can  only  allow  itself  to  pray  in  apologies  for 
praying,  and  cannot  presume  to  name  what  it  prays 
to,  without  withdrawing  the  very  name  without  which 
it  cannot  utter  its  prayer. 

"  O  Thou,  that  in  our  bosoms'  shrine 
Dost  dwell,  unknown,  because  divine  ! 

0  Thou,  in  that  mysterious  shrine 
Enthroned,  as  I  must  say,  divine  ! 

1  will  not  frame  one  thought  of  what 
Thou  mayest  either  be  or  not ; 

I  will  not  prate  of '  thus '  and  '  so,' 
And  be  profane  with  *  yes '  or  *  no  : J 
Enough  that  in  our  soul  and  heart 
Thou,  whatsoe'er  Thou  mayest  be,  art ! 
Do  only  Thou,  in  that  dim  shrine, 
Unknown  or  known,  remain,  divine. 
There,  or  if  not,  at  least  in  eyes 
That  scan  the  fact  that  round  them  lies, 
The  hand  to  sway,  the  judgment  guide, 
To  sight  and  sense  Thyself  divide  : 
Be  Thou  but  there,  in  soul  and  heart, 
I  will  not  ask  to  feel  Thou  art." 

So  it  has  all  been  said,  in  its  most  perfect  and 
most  manly  form. 

But,  then,  the  very  emotion  which  stirs  in  us  at 
the  reading  of  such  a  poem,  comes  from  the  fact  that 
the  soul  which  argues  on  behalf  of  this  wordless 

232  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

faith,  recognizes  and  confesses  its  own  pathetic  im- 
potence. Such  a  religion  (as  it  knows  well)  is  but 
the  uttermost  refuge  of  a  wistful  soul  that  cannot 
quite  abandon  itself  to  despair  of  God.  It  is  aware 
of  all  that  it  has  lost ;  it  can  but  humbly  apologize 
for  what  remains  ;  it  offers  no  gladness,  for  it  cannot 
"go  up  with  the  multitude  that  keep  holiday;"  it 
creeps  into  some  unnoticed  corner,  under  the  grey 
shadows,  and  tenderly  it  pleads  against  surrendering 
its  faint  frail  hope.  Pitifully  it  is  conscious  of  the 
misery  of 

"  Fingering  idly  some  old  Gordian  knot, 
Unskilled  to  sunder,  and  too  weak  to  cleave, 
And  with  much  toil  attain  to  half-believe." 

Yet,  seriously,  tragically,  it  will  still  go  apart,  in 
silence,  and  will  bend  itself  in  a  prayer  that  must, 
perforce,  be  speechless,  to  One 

"  Who,  not  unowned,  yet  shall  unnamed  forgive ; " 

or  be  content,  in  prayerlessness,  to  work,  so  that  the 
work  itself  may  become  the  prayer  that  it  cannot 
pray  ;  dumbly  trusting  that  perchance  rare  moments 
may  fall  upon  its  clouded  life — 

6 '  When,  while  the  work  it  plies, 
Unsummoned  powers  the  blinding  film  shall  part, 
And,  scarce  by  happy  tears  made  dim,  the  eyes 
In  recognition  start." 

So  tender,  so  touching,  the  appeal !  And  the 
pity  of  it  lies  just  in  this — that  such  a  religion 
must,  perforce,  abide  secreted  and  unshared.  "It 
abideth  alone."  Only  by  speech  can  it  shatter  the 
dismal  solitude.  It  must  discover  some  word  which 
can  embody  for  it  its  belief,  if  it  is  ever  to  convey  it 
to  another.  A  wordless  faith  is  a  lonely  faith. 

But,  my  brethren,  surely  religion  has  almost  for- 
sworn itself  if  it  has  abandoned  its  claim  to  lift  men 

DOGMA — A    SOCIAL    FORCE.  233 

out  of  loneliness.  Religion  is,  in  its  vital  essence,  the 
spirit  of  unity,  of  combination,  of  brotherhood.  Its 
primal  office  is  to  overleap  the  barriers  that  shut 
men's  souls  off  from  one  another.  In  religion,  if  any- 
where, men  must  find  their  common  identity.  Its 
entire  aspiration  is  set  that  way ;  and  that  is  why 
the  whole  religious  movement  of  mankind,  being  an 
effort,  an  impulse,  after  spiritual  unity,  attains  its  true 
consummation  in  the  revelation  of  "one  Lord,  one 
Faith,  one  Baptism,  one  God  and  Father  of  all."  A 
religion  that  cannot  bring  together  even  so  much  as 
two  souls  into  a  common  faith,  is  but  the  vacant 
ghost  of  a  religion,  haunting  its  own  melancholy  grave. 
It  has  ceased  to  retain  the  office  and  character  that 
stamp  a  religion.  Yet  a  religion  that  cannot  name 
its  God  is  powerless  to  arrive  at  a  brotherhood  even  of 
two.  The  sole  bridge  by  which  we  can  pass  across 
the  gulf  that  sunders  spirit  from  spirit,  is  speech.  To 
co-operate,  to  associate,  we  must  speak.  Destroy 
faith's  power  of  speech,  and  you  reduce  it  to  the 
impotence  of  Babel.  Our  tower  that  should  rise  to 
heaven  tumbles  into  ruins  the  moment  combination 
ceases ;  and  combination  ceases  as  soon  as  language 
fails  us. 

Here,  then,  is  the  alternative  set  before  us.  If 
we  deny  the  spiritual  belief  its  power  to  express 
itself;  if  we  repudiate  the  formality  of  words  in 
the  secret  communings  of  the  soul ;  if  we  shrink 
from  all  outward  expressions  of  the  mystery  that  we 
would  nurse  to  ourselves  alone ;  if  we  prefer  some 
dumb,  inarticulate,  powerless  cry  of  the  soul,  and 
shrink  from  all  attempts  to  "  name  the  ineffable 
Name  ; "  —then,  while  cherishing  our  own  freedom 
from  the  dust  and  heat  of  theological  dispute,  while 
hugging  our  own  personal  spiritual  purity  on  which 
no  spot  or  stain  has  fallen  from  these  wild  wars  that 
rage  around  holy  things,  we  have  all  the  time 

234  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

dropped  out  the  heart  of  the  matter ;  we  have  ex- 
punged from  religion  its  innermost  significance  ;  we 
have  surrendered  its  main  hope  ;  for  we  have  stripped 
it  of  the  only  instrument  by  which  it  can  fulfil  its 
supreme  office  of  knitting  men  together  into  a 
brotherhood,  into  a  body.  We  have  won  our  peace 
at  the  cost  of  finding  it  a  solitude. 

No  !  every  religion  that  is  true  to  its  primal  instincts 
must  offer  to  combine  men  together ;  and,  to  combine 
men  together,  it  must  take  all  the  risks  of  formulating 
a  speech  which  its  followers  understand :  a  speech 
by  which  it  can  convey  to  itself,  and  to  others,  that 
which  it  believes. 

And  Christianity  is,  above  all  religions,  bound  to 
have  gained  this  power  of  speech,  because  not  only 
does  it  profess  (i)  that  combination  is  of  the  essence 
of  its  creed,  so  that  the  faith  only  exists  in  a  corpo- 
rate form  as  a  society,  a  kingdom,  a  family,  and  to 
believe  at  all  involves  belief  in  a  Catholic  Church ; 
but  (2),  also,  by  offering  to  make  this  association 
world-wide  and  universal,  it  drops  out  all  those 
adventitious  aids  to  combination  which  religions 
could  rely  upon  as  long  as  they  were  national  or 
local.  The  tie  of  blood  would  serve  to  bind  men 
into  a  religion  so  long  as  the  religion  and  the  race 
were  coterminous.  But  Christianity  has  thrown  over 
these  incidental  ties,  and  it  must  rely,  therefore,  for 
its  corporate  coherence  on  the  purely  spiritual  acts 
which  constitute  the  common  speech  of  its  united 

Now,  I  would  use  speech,  first,  in  its  widest  sense, 
as  meaning  all  outward  acts,  which  embody  and  con- 
vey abroad  an  inward  intention.  Such  sacramental 
speech,  in  the  deepest  and  highest  sense,  is  to  be 
found  in  the  fixed  actions  of  a  common  worship. 
Acts  of  public  worship,  done  all  together,  by  mutual 
agreement,  conveying  united  assent, — these  form  the 

DOGMA — A    SOCIAL   FORCE.  235 

primary,  the  most  permanent,  and,  in  some  ways, 
the  richest  language  in  which  a  communion  in  belief 
becomes  articulate,  and  finds  determined  and  intelli- 
gible expression.  And  so  Christianity  took  for  its 
elemental  speech  the  liturgy  of  the  common  Feast, 
of  the  one  Altar — the  Eucharist.  Fixed  acts,  fixed 
formulas, — these  held  together,  by  public  rehearsal,  by 
public  declaration,  in  the  public  assembly,  the  entire 
body  corporate  of  believers.  In  these  unchanging  and 
catholic  forms  every  one  understood  the  same  thing; 
every  one  realized,  through  these  outward  expres- 
sions, his  identity  with  his  brethren,  in  the  one  Body 
and  the  one  Blood.  Through  these  sacraments  the 
invisible  Church  attained  to  visible  unity.  Souls 
mingled  with  souls,  spirits  touched  spirits,  as  they, 
under  set  ritual,  eat  of  one  loaf,  as  they  drank  at 
one  cup.  Here  was  the  high  language  that  released 
the  spirit  from  its  loneliness.  It  had  found  its  proper 
speech  ;  it  was  made  one  with  its  fellows. 

But  mere  outward  ritual  could  not  be  enough. 
This  speech  of  liturgical  actions  was  bound  to  in- 
clude the  fixed  use  of  selected  and  intelligible  and 
definite  words.  For  a  Christian's  ritual  could  not 
lie  at  the  level  of  some  miserable  pagan  magic, 
which  asked  no  one  to  understand  it,  if  only  it  were 
formally  correct.  A  Christian  must  offer  reasonable, 
intelligent  service,  with  his  mind  and  with  his  spirit. 
He  must  know  what  he  means  by  his  acts  ;  he  must 
follow  his  public  worship  with  a  reasoning  assent, 
with  a  thoroughly  qualified  understanding.  This  is 
the  unique  note  of  Judaism  and  of  Christianity — 
that  they  alone,  of  all  religions  in  the  world,  demand 
of  every  worshipper  that  he  should  think  about 
what  he  is  doing,  and  should  bring  his  mind  into 
full  play  in  his  worship.  To  fail  in  this  was  to 
fail  in  loyalty  to  Him  Who  is  "the  Word  "—the 
reasonable  Will  of  God.  From  the  very  start, 

236  A    LENT  IN  LONDON. 

therefore,  every  catechumen  must  have  passed  dili- 
gently through  the  intellectual  training  of  the  cate- 
chetical schools  before  he  could  take  his  place,  as 
baptized  and  confirmed,  in  the  corporate  worship  of 
the  society.  In  these  schools  he  learned  to  apprehend 
the  authoritative,  dogmatic  words  gradually  sifted 
out,  deliberately  chosen,  through  which  the  society 
secured  and  maintained  its  coherence.  He  learned 
to  name  the  God  in  Whom  he  had  believed  by  the 
Name  in  which  the  associated  and  united  worship  of 
the  entire  Church  made  its  appeal  before  the  Throne. 
The  Name  of  the  Lord  !  That  of  old  was  the  force 
that  made  Israel  a  people.  And  the  Name  given  to 
our  Lord,  which  was  above  every  name,  was  the  force 
which  held  together  the  Church,  and  constituted  all 
believers  to  be  one  people.  The  Name  named  ;  the 
Name  understood,  disclosed,  laid  open,  comprehended, 
pronounced,  declared  in  intelligible  words ; — this  is 
that  which  knits  all  members  to  the  one  Head ;  this 
is  that  through  which,  by  joints  and  bands,  the  entire 
body,  articulated  and  combined,  "  increaseth  with  the 
increase  of  God." 

And  then,  as  debates  and  disputes  raged  keenly 
round  the  Name  in  which  the  worship  ascended,  the 
Church,  if  she  were  to  cohere  at  all,  if  she  were  to 
abide  as  an  enduring  society,  found  herself  obliged, 
perforce,  not  only  to  select  her  liturgical  language  yet 
more  carefully,  but  also  to  state  yet  more  precisely 
what  she  intended  by  it.  So  grew  her  dogma. 

But  note  what  dogma  means.  Not  speculation,  not 
metaphysic,  not  theological  explanation.  Dogma  does 
not  explain  or  argue  ;  it  only  asserts — asserts  facts 
verified  through  the  collective  experience.  It  asserts 
what  already  is  believed.  It  asserts  what  it  already 
intends  by  its  familiar  worship.  Dogma  is  the  de- 
claration of  what  faith  means  by  its  faith.  It  has  no 
authority  over  unbelievers,  and  claims  none.  It  is 

DOGMA — A    SOCIAL   FORCE.  237 

the  simple  assertion  by  Christian  believers  of  what 
it  is  that  they  in  common  do,  as  a  fact,  hold  and 

Dogma,  then,  is  the  act  of  the  Body — of  the  believ- 
ing, worshipping  Church.  For  it  is  the  answer  to  the 
question,  What  is  it  that  the  Christian  Body  means 
by  worshipping  Jesus  Christ  in  its  public  assemblies, 
in  its  liturgical  acts  ?  As  a  Body  it  does  so  worship  ; 
does  it  in  one  way,  everywhere,  always,  in  corporate 
eucharistic  actions,  which  must  have  a  valid  and  uni- 
versal significance  to  those  who  so  unite  in  them. 
What  is  that  significance  ?  Does  it  involve  this  ? 
Does  it  imply  that?  How  can  Jesus  Christ  be  wor- 
shipped ?  What  is  His  Name  that  it  should  be  a 
means  of  approach  to  the  Father  ?  So  the  immense 
intellectual  discussion  of  the  fourth  and  fifth  centuries 
delivered  its  challenges.  And  the  dogmatic  creeds  are 
the  answers  given  by  the  Church.  In  them  she 
announces  the  mind  with  which  she  habitually  wor- 
ships. She  fends  off  doubtful  terms  and  hazy  ex- 
pressions, which  would  wreck  her  power  to  pray  to 
God  through  Jesus  Christ  in  her  historical  and  unde- 
viating  forms,  as  she  had  always  done. 

That  is  her  dogma.  And,  note,  to  deny  her  this 
right  and  capacity  to  dogmatize,  can  only  mean  the 
denial  of  the  Church's  power  to  say  what  it  is  that 
she  believes,  and  what  she  understands  by  her  wor- 
ship. It  is  to  say  that  her  faith  must  be  inarticulate, 
must  be  unthinkable,  unintelligent,  dumb,  below  the 
level  of  natural  things.  It  is  to  say  that  reason  can 
have  no  part  or  lot  in  the  Christian's  worship,  and 
that  no  one  can  convey  to  another  brother  in  the  faith 
anything  of  what  he  understands  by  believing. 

Of  course,  this  may  be  true  ;  only  if  it  is — if  faith 
must  remain  a  buried  secret,  a  blind  emotion,  hushed 
up  in  the  hidden  recesses  of  the  individual  spirit, 
unable  to  emerge  into  public  view  in  any  rational 

238  A   LENT  IN  LONDON. 

language — then  the  existence  of  Christianity  as  an 
organic  society,  as  a  coherent  body,  as  a  social  force 
that  can  combine  into  any  consistent  movement  so  as 
to  tell  on  mankind  at  large,  is  at  an  end.  This  is  the 
simple  issue.  In  dogma,  Christianity  declares  what 
it  itself  means  by  its  belief.  If  it  cannot  say  even  to 
itself  what  it  means,  then  it  has  no  capacity  for  com- 
bination ;  its  members  cannot  associate  in  united 
action ;  its  corporate  construction  falls  away  into 

My  brethren,  that  is  the  issue,  and  it  is  serious.  For 
all  men  are  turning  their  eyes  to-day  anxiously  to 
see  whether,  in  the  midst  of  our  social  State,  strained 
as  it  is  by  industrial  perplexities,  wearied,  overbur- 
dened, beclouded,  there  be,  present  here  on  earth, 
a  holy  society  in  which  God  has  set  up  His  throne, 
whose  members,  trained  and  fashioned  in  a  heavenly 
city,  can  bring  to  bear  upon  social  difficulties  the 
mind  of  those  who  know  what  corporate  citizenship 
and  the  responsibilities  of  a  brotherhood  should 
mean.  You  and  I  believe  that  such  a  city  of  God 
exists,  and  that  its  citizenship  is  the  one  and  only 
school  in  which  we  can  learn  how  best  to  serve  our 
earthly  city,  and  to  love  our  fellow-men. 

But  such  a  society,  if  it  is  to  be  what  we  imagine, 
cannot  base  itself,  as  so  many  fondly  imagine,  on  the 
elimination  of  dogma.  Such  a  society  cannot  cohere 
if  it  do  not  possess  a  constructive,  unifying  mind 
which  can  animate  the  body  with  a  fixed  purpose. 
Such  a  society  cannot  cohere  if  its  members  cannot 
communicate  with  one  another ;  cannot  share  together 
a  common  faith,  which  is  intelligible,  and  can  be  con- 
veyed in  a  common  speech.  They  must,  if  they  are 
ever  to  have  any  social  force  as  an  integral  mass — they 
must  be  drawn  together  and  compacted  by  the  know- 
ledge of  Him  in  Whom  they  have  believed.  There 
must  be  a  Christian  language  that  passes  between 

DOGMA  —  A    SOCIAL   FORCE.  239 

Christians,  by  which  they  can  realize  their  knowledge, 
and  can  name  together  the  everlasting  Name.  Such 
knowledge  adds  nothing  to  the  faith  ;  it  only  expresses 
what  is  already  believed.  But  it  does  add  power  to 
the  faith,  just  because  it  enables  it  to  know  itself, 
and  to  combine  in  one  all  who  share  it. 

Faith  in  Jesus  Christ  may  exist  without  the  power 
to  speak,  but  it  must  then  exist  to  itself  alone,  and 
abandon  all  hope  of  winning  the  swing,  and  move- 
ment, and  honour,  and  force  of  associated  action.  But 
if  (as  we  hold  for  certain)  Jesus  Christ  intended  to 
act  on  the  world  through  a  kingdom  —  through  the 
weight  of  a  gathered  Church  —  then  He  intended  the 
Church  to  speak,  to  understand  its  own  meaning.  And 
that  understanding,  that  authoritative  speech,  is 

There  may  be  those  here  to  whom  such  speech  is 
honestly  denied.  Let  them  bear  this  burden  as 
bravely  as  Zacharias,  dumb  for  a  season,  because  he 
could  not  wholly  believe  the  vision.  Only  let  them 
believe  that,  if  that  dumbness  broke,  they  would  find 
their  capacity  for  service  doubled  ;  they  would  step 
up  into  their  place  in  that  ordered  creation  where  all 
voices  are  organic  and  distinct  ;  they  would  strike 
hands  with  their  brethren  in  the  faith.  They  would 
be  glad  as  Zacharias  on  the  day  when  his  mouth  was 
opened,  and  his  tongue  loosed,  and  he  spake,  and 
praised  God. 

OF  THi 



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